British newspaper websites lead the world but still don't generate enough cash, according to Martin Clarke, publisher of the Mail Online.
Clarke, talking at the Society of Editors' conference in Bristol today, said five of the the 30 biggest newspaper websites in the world were British. "We are becoming global leaders in providing content," he said, but added:"None of us have worked out how to make enough money out of it." He claimed revenues were not enough to sustain the newspaper websites on their own and said:"Every UK national newspaper website only exists because of its old media parent."
Guardian chief executive Carolyn McCall warned that the days of regional newspapers making bumper profit margins are over. McCall told the conference local paper companies could no longer make 30 per cent profit margins. She branded BBC plans to boost its local websites as "not fair" competition for regional newspapers. A view shared by Clarke who also warned local papers against getting into joint deals with the BBC at a local a level, likening it to "partnership with a boa constrictor".
McCall, reflecting an idea floated by Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger in The Guardian today, said that the regional press may need state subsidies to survive.