The British (Expletive Deleted)
by Joe Mandese, Feb 16, 2013, 8:59 AM
Mobile Insider Summit chair Steve Smith got his morning keynote conversation with Mail Online Publisher Martin Clarke by asking him to explain, not just the Mail’s success, but why there’s new “British invasion of news” publishers that the Mail is part of, noting that the FT, the Economist, and even the Guardian have been making big pushes, and big gains, in the U.S. news marketplace.
“Being British, we’re not allowed to use words like ‘invasion’ anymore,” Clarke replied, adding, “It kind of goes down badly with the rest of the world.”
That said, the Mail has, in fact, invaded the U.S. news marketplace in a big way, shifting its focus from simply catering to U.K. users to the “largest English-speaking market in the world” -- the U.S. As a result, the Mail now has 127 million uniques and in the past year overtook the New York Times as the world’s most trafficked online newspaper.
It’s no wonder, Smith noted, that the British version of GQ magazine named Clarke one of the 100 most influential people in the U.K. But based on that last stat, I’m thinking the U.S. version might want to do the same thing.
Clarke noted the invasion is far from a one-way process, noting, “News is a globalized market. It’s not one-way traffic. American news organizations are attacking the rest of the world too.”
That said, Clarke said the Mail began focusing on the U.S. in earnest about six years ago.
“We thought we should have a harder look at this,” he noted, adding, “So we started doing American content, pointed at American people.”
Clarke revealed consumer tracking research indicating that at least part of the success as been the mix of content, and the “punchy” tone with which British journalists tend to convey the news.
“They seem to like the fact that we have a broad range of content ranging from hard news to show biz,” he said, adding that some of the “secret sauce” is simply cultural, and the fact that British journalists operate in a highly competitive market (London), and that Fleet Street mentality of “decades of fighting each other tooth-and-claw” apparently resonates with American news consumers.