Who owns what?

The Daily Mail is owned by DMGT Media; a national newspaper, website publisher and consumer media company in the UK. DMGT Media is parented by The Daily Mail and General Trust.

I am going to focus on The Mail Online, which is the world’s largest newspaper website with more than 54 million monthly unique visitors globally. It is also America’s third biggest online newspaper with US traffic of 20 million monthly unique visitors and almost 2 million daily visits. (Source: Adobe analytics, June 2015)

The Chairman and main shareholder of DMG Media is Jonathan Harmsworth (Viscount Rothermere), a conservative supporter with a net work of 1 Billion pounds.

DMG Media has a majority share, owns and operates some of the UK’s leading online property brands including Zoopla and Prime Location. Each of its brands has a distinct market position to attract a unique audience, meaning increased exposure and enquiries for advertisers.

The Mail online offers a free membership, which allows readers to comment on articles, ‘check your status’ to see how many people have rated your comment and use your profile to see how your comments compare with other readers.

It was reported in 2014 that The Mail Online spent 2 million pounds on web content marketing. Investing in marketing will enable the “potential for a solid financial return” (Ricardo Bilton [Digaday.com] August 2015)

The Mail online chief, Martin Clarke, opposed to using paywalls. The surge of traffic brings the advertising.

“The Rise of Online News” taken from Online News Bucks: OUP, Allan, S (2006)

The Times had produced a special dedicated to the web and news, although not many people had access to the internet when the issue was published in 1995.

  1. Cyberspace was characterised as a driving force for economic growth by the news.
  2. There was a pressing need to introduce the magazines (The Times) ‘own brand of journalism’ to the new media forms.
  3. There was an importance of making journalist an integral part of the online relationship.
  4. Message boards, forums and posting of writers email addresses.
  5. ‘Broadcast is no longer the only medium for breaking news.’
  6. In the case of breaking news: public want information to provide context to rapidly unfolding events was of paramount importance.
  7. No limit to what you can publish online- don’t have to rely on a journalists interpretive summary.
  8. ‘The internet is often viewed by its users as an unfiltered, primary source of information and not to be distrusted like the tradition news media. There is also immediate acceptance of information on the internet.’ ( Maggie Cannon, 1997)
  9. Old media needed to embrace the changes created by new media.
  10. With online news you can update frequently as the event was taking place.
  11. Capacity for greater depth in online reporting- no limits to what you can post.

“Reinterpreting the internet” taken from Misunderstanding the Internet, James Curran (2012)

Positives: Revolutionary, fell of prosperity for the ‘weak’, reorder power relations and foster global understanding.

“Changing society permanently and irrevocably.”

Negatives: shallow and addictive, potentially vaporised.

Economic transformation:

  • Predictions: 
  1. The internet had efficient means of connecting suppliers, producers and consumers that increased productivity and growth.
  2. Create a level playing field between corporate and smaller companies- the usefulness of the internet as a tool for securing foreign market access was constrained by language, cultural knowledge, the quality of telecommunications infrastructures and computer access.
  3. New marketing opportunities
  4. Lowers costs and enables low-volume producers to satisfy neglected niche demand in the global market.
  5. ‘A small company can look as large as a big company and be accessible … ’ (Ryan 2010: 179).
  6. Affect collection of data, the interactions between suppliers, producers and consumer.
  7. Increase in the stock market value of internet companies between 1995 and 2000.

Global Understanding:

  • Negatives:
  1. “The internet can spew out hatred, foster misunderstanding, and perpetuate animosity. Because the internet is both international and interactive, it does not mean necessarily that it encourages only ‘sweetness and light’. Indeed, there is evidence that active terror groups have used the internet to win converts and extend international links, in addition to transferring and laundering money.” (Freiburger and Crane 2008).
  2. World is divided by bitter conflicts of value, belief and interest.
  3. The role of the internet in bringing people together is thus necessarily hampered by mutual incomprehension.
  4. Wealthier parts of the world  have access to internet, whilst poorer parts are not able to access as easily.
  5. Creates webs of communication that interconnect with one another to create an international public sphere of dialogue and debate.
  6. Internet encourages the globalisation of culture and the loosening of ties to nation and place. (Jon Stratton, 1997)
  7. Thought to have been less subject to state censorship than traditional media.
  8. Greater opportunity for ordinary people to communicate with each other.
  9. “Improve knowledge of other people, countries and culture” (Vern Ehlers, 1995)
  10. “Create a community of informed, interacting, and tolerant world citizens.” (Vern Ehlers, 1995)

Internet and Democracy:


  1. Undermine elite control of politics: the internet is ‘empowering previously excluded groups’. (Mark Poster, 2001)
  2. Public will be better able to control government through its unparalleled access to information (Toffler and Toffler, 1995).
  3. Limitations: Citizens’ inputs are often disconnected from real structures of decision making, one-sided communication in which the government provides information about services and promotes their us.
  4. e-government: inviting the public to comment, petition or otherwise respond online to an official website- Good for economically developed countries.
  5. Mid 1990s: Internet would install a new form of democracy.
  6. ‘many authoritarian regimes are proactively promoting the development of an Internet that serves state-defined interests rather than challenging them ’ (Kalathil and Boas 2003)


  1. Blocking websites (China), funnelling of all international connections through the state-controlled Internet Services (Saudi Arabia)
  2. Proclaimed that the Internet would undermine dictators by ending their monopoly of information- BUT internet can be controlled.

Renascence of Journalism:

  1. Rupert Murdoch- ‘The internet is democratising Journalism.’
  2. Editors, Chief Executives etc are being taken over by bloggers, social networks and consumers downloading from the web.
  3. ‘The days of media conglomerates determining the news in a top-down Fordist fashion are over … Big media are going to be disintermediated because the technology has drastically reduced the cost of dissemination’ (Fawkes cited Beckett 2008)
  4. The internet is bringing to an end the era of media moguls and conglomerate control of journalism.
  5. Bystanders have become a great source of news twenty four hours a day.
  6. Huffington Post,19 Politico and openDemocracy are examples of how social media has enabled independent online publications to thrive.
  7. Ofcom 2010: In all countries surveyed (Britain, France, Germ any, Italy, United States and Japan) a majority said they relied on television than the internet as the main source of news about their country.
  8. News organisations set up satellite news sites.
  9. The rise of the internet has not undermined leading news organisations, it has enabled them to extend their hegemony across technologies.
  10. Most have found it difficult to build a subscription base because the public has become accustomed to having free web content. And because these online independents have generally attracted small audiences, they have low advertising returns.
  11. Often with skeletal resources, their most pressing priority has usually been to stay alive.
  12. ‘Most bloggers lack the time to investigate stories. They are amateurs, who need their regular day job to pay their way. (Couldry, 2010)
  13. ‘Search’ is the internet’s biggest category of advertising.
  14. Internet advertising took 25% of advertising expenditure in 2010 than the newspaper press of 18% (Nielsen 2011).
  15. The internet’s share of classified expenditure soared from 2 per cent to 45 per cent between 2000 and 2008, while that of the local and regional press plummeted from 47% to 26%. (Office of Fair Trading 2009).
  16. 101 British local newspapers folded between January 2008 and September 2009.
  17. Dominant news organisations gained a commanding position in both the offline and online production and consumption of news.
  18. The rise of the internet as an advertising medium has led to budget cuts, increased time pressure on journalists and, sometimes, declining quality in mainstream journalism.

Different contexts/different outcomes:

Open Democracy (UK)

  • Early 2000s: little demand for radical political and cultural change in Britain.
  • 2002: general election witnessed the lowest turnout ever, registering public disaffection with politics (Couldry et al. 2007).
  • International project, only partly connected to a British base.
  • With substantial foundation support, an able team at the centre, and drawing upon a talented network of contributors, the website became the leading British venture of its kind.
  • Total, gross number of visitors per month peaked at 441,000 in 2005 before falling rapidly thereafter.
  • The venture went into financial crisis in 2007 from which it has never fully recovered. (Curran and Witschge 2010)

OhmyNews (South Korea)

  • Pressure-cooker build-up in favour of political and cultural change.
  • Short-lived attempt to create a parliamentary democracy in 1960 had been overtaken by a military coup.
  • A civilian president was elected in 1992, and this opened the way to further liberalisation.
  • A long-running campaign for greater media independence from government that gained support from increasingly disaffected journalists (Park et al. 2000).
  • The politician Moo-hyun Roh came to represent this gathering tide of opposition, and was elected President in 2002. This upsurge of political radicalism was accompanied by a cultural revolt against authoritarian conformity.
  • Launched in 2000, became the focal point of this political and generational protest.
  • Became a vehicle of cultural dissent, giving space to views that did not conform to the precepts of Confucian civility and obedience
  • Established by a young, radical journalist, Yeon Ho Oh, in 2000 with a modest launch fund of $85,000.
  • OMN had initially a skeletal staff of four, supported by 727 volunteer ‘citizen journalists’ (Kim and Hamilton 2006).
  • The website’s registered citizen journalists grew to 14,000 in 2001, 30,000 in 2003 and 34,000 in 2004, while its core staff increased to 60 people by 2004 (of whom 35 were full-time journalists).
  • 2004: 2.2 million visitors a month.
  • Young, mostly affluent users solved the perennial problem of independent web publishing – lack of income.
  • 2003: profitable because it attracted substantial online advertising.
  • Mid-2000s: Core group of professional journalists wrote only about 20% of website content- They selected and edited the articles sent in by ‘citizen journalists’ that were published in the main sections of the website. Space was created beside articles for readers’ responses, and the website hosted chat rooms on different topics.
  • Citizen journalists received a token payment if their articles were accepted in the main section.
  • Articles, unpaid and unedited, were also published in the ‘kindling’ sections of the website. The whole operation was overseen by a committee made up of both professionals and representatives of citizen journalists.
  • By 2004: OMN published between 150 and 200 articles each day, becoming in effect a website ‘daily’
  • Popularity declined because of growing disappointment with President Roh’s government.
  • OMN ceased to be the natural home of cultural dissent. It also became apparent that its volunteer base was relatively narrow- in 2005, registered volunteers were heavily concentrated in greater Seoul, almost entirely under the age of 40, and 77% were male. (Joyce 2007)
  • The venture closed in 2008, a failure from the very outset, in contrast to its sister paper.