Martin Clarke Plays Numbers Game

While some of the online readership figures for newspaper websites appear at first glance to be quite staggering when compared to print circulation of the same titles, Mail Online chief Martin Clarke says they are rendered largely meaningless without closer scrutiny.

He argues that figures showing daily brand loyalty, reader interaction and so on, is far more valuable a commodity to offer advertisers, than simple web hits alone.

You could suggest that Clarke, former editor-in-chief of the Daily Record and former editor of the Scottish Daily Mail, is just sore because his site currently trails in fourth using the current measurements.

But in fact he is probably bang on given that no major UK newspaper publisher is yet making a significant stand alone profit out of the web having all too easily given away its core product – content – for free, in the relentless pursuit of numbers.

Extending the argument further, we could ask if news sites should be free or if they might instead benefit from offering a basic costless news package while charging readers a subscription to access premium content?

Quite probably, it could be made to work.

But how can it be achieved when up against the likes of the BBC who don't have too?

Categories: Media philosophy & trends

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