menu

Advertising

British papers' transatlantic readership figures are impressive – but how to make money out of the States is less certain.

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 21 april 2011

>

Powered by Guardian.co.uk
This article titled “America: Fleet Street’s new land of opportunity” was written by Peter Preston, for The Observer on Saturday 16th April 2011 23.06 UTC

The headline really writes itself: “The Brits are Coming.” It’s an Oscars night boast translated for a multimedia world. It means that BBC World News America is now available on public broadcasting stations all over the US (with more cash going in to drive up BBC.com’s monthly online visiting figures over 15m). It means that the Guardian has dispatched a high-powered editorial and finance team to New York to build digital awareness, news coverage and cash flow on an 10.75m comScore estimate of monthly American visitors to guardian.co.uk.

And it means that Martin Clarke, Mail Online’s publisher, is already spending half his time in the States, as he watches newly recruited journalists churn out American stories for the US home page. Where, long ago, the FT dared to tread – and the Economist scored 850,000 or so subscribers – other British invaders are pouring in.

Prospects? Uncertain, of course: as with everything else in an internet realm where statistics contort and confuse. But let’s, at an educated guess, put the Mail’s monthly unique browser figures, as recorded by ABCe, at nearly 66m in all markets – and its unique visitor figures in the States, as assessed by comScore, at around 16.5m. These are big numbers, expanding fast. Not as big as the Huffington Post, or the New York Times. But if the Timess famous paywall chokes off traffic levels, then Mail Online could well overtake it very soon.

Both the Mail and the Guardian are apostles of free news on the net, reporting without walls; and they’re UK leaders at the numbers game. Perhaps the Guardian, with 23.7m unique browsers outside Britain, and nearly 40m in all, can’t quite keep up with Mail growth – but it, too, is increasing healthily (up 27% of total unique browsers in a year) and it, too, has a walled New York Times in its sights.

“I’m not suggesting that the Guardian is not a good paper. It is a very good newspaper… but it does not speak to the American experience,” said a defensive Arthur Sulzberger Jr, the supreme leader of the Times, the other day. He’s seen a threat building. He knows that, with net growth slowing in Britain, the US market still has juice left to tap. He can feel opportunity knocking for British invaders who have grown naturally in America in recent years – burgeoning, in the Mail’s case, almost accidentally to begin with, finding a market for celebrity news that works on both sides of the Atlantic and making swift tracks.

But here, perhaps, is the crucial rub. BBC America wins garlands, if not great wads of cash, because (as one industry blogger says) it is seen as “more truthful, honest and less biased than any of our domestic news sources”. Clarke’s Mail Online, with low costs and tight staffing, majors on hard news and celebrity gossip. It’s not an integrated version of the Daily Mail (except, perhaps, in spirit). Indeed, “it’s not like a newspaper at all”, as one of its senior executives observes. It is what it is, and nothing it does washes back into the print product.

The print and digital Guardian is different, because it is far more integrated – and complex. It will have to decide whether America wants extra American news – or something more simply international that keeps its UK flavour. And, of course, there’s a danger that the print and home online editions will catch an alien “experience” coming the other way. How many tales about Glenn Beck or Charlie Sheen for UK readers equal a case of fuzzy focus?

But hey! It’s an adventure and something new, building on audience figures that swelled from natural demand. Of course there are problems, challenges, doubts, sorrows. And of course prospective advertising riches aren’t huge, because net ad rates are low. But who wants to play Cassandra as the future clicks in? Ambition is a two-way street.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.

Advertising
Trending

Brand Engagement At The Gates Of The World's Largest Open-Air Gallery

Culture
Fashion Today

Handbags Crafted From An Old NFL Stadium

People for Urban Progress is an up-cycling program that tackles the waste problem of big demolitions

Work Today

Tech Job Site Created Just For Those Who Are Older Than 30

A new occupational job board presents a creative solution to age discrimination in the tech world

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Advertising

See All
Europe Today

Architect Turns A Giant Smile Into A Public Exhibition

The structure offers visitors a new perspective of London and creates an immersive environment that integrates structure, surface, space and light

Children Today

Norwegian Kids Are Using Their Phones To Log Unsafe Street Conditions

Travel Agent is an app that gamifies the reporting of hazardous conditions to improve the safety of children's commute to school

Related Expert

Katrin Baumgarten

Technology Artist, Interaction Design

Travel Today

Google Wants To Help You Plan Your Next Trip

A new app curates vacation itineraries and organizes reservation emails to take the work out of planning a getaway

Technology Today

Small Handheld Analyzer Checks Oral Hygiene On The Go

The breath-detecting gadget gives people a quick and easy peek into their dental health

Asia Yesterday

Safe Drivers Rewarded In Japan With Free Coffee

Driving Barista is a new app that encourages Japanese motorists to put their phones down as they drive

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Energy Expert: How American Consumers Are Taking Control Of Their Power Use

Jennifer Tuohy, green tech expert at The Home Depot, discusses green home technologies and developments for renewable technologies in US homes

PSFK Labs Today

The 10 Steps To Discover, Hire, Develop Your Next Leader

PSFK's Future of Work report outlines key steps in the employee development path to empower next-gen leaders

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Michael Kors Has Designed Their Own Instant Camera

In a partnership with Fuji, the limited edition Instax Mini 70 comes in an exclusive metallic gold color

Health Yesterday

Manage Your Emotional Health Through Your Phone

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer has created a new iOS app meant to help patients track mental progress and set goals

Food Yesterday

Delete Food Pics Off Of Instagram To Feed The Hungry

Land O'Lakes and Feeding America are donating meals for every picture of a meal taken off of the social platform

Design & Architecture Yesterday

This Shape-Shifting Pod Could Be The Future Of The Cubicle

MIT and Google have designed a new form of work enclosure meant to offer privacy in open-office layouts

Advertising Yesterday

Billboard Spies On People As They Walk By

To promote the movie "Snowden," the advertisement broadcasts information on passersby without their knowledge

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Fashion Yesterday

Anti-Pollution Scarf Helps Cyclists Ride Through Cities

An innovative system filters pollutants and its accompanying app monitors quality of the air

Automotive Yesterday

Volvo’s Self-Driving Trucks Will Soon Be Put To Work In An Underground Mine

The fully-automated vehicles are part of a development project to help improve safety for workers

Work Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: How Will Companies Staff The Workplace Of The Future?

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX examine the ways that a people-first workplace might disrupt the job hiring process

No search results found.