The money made from digital advertising on Mail Online now exceeds that from print advertising across the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday combined, according to new full-year financial figures.
The shift has been described as an “important milestone” by the Daily Mail and General Trust, which owns the two Mail newspaper titles plus the Mail Online and the free Metro.
Mail Online reported turnover of £122m for the year to the end of September, up by £3m (3 per cent) on the previous year, figures published today reveal.
Its ad revenues were up by an underlying 5 per cent year-on-year and now account for 51 per cent of total ad income across the Mail businesses (Mail Online, Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday).
But a 9 per cent drop in print ad revenues at the Mail titles offset the digital gain, with total ad revenues across the Mail businesses down by an underlying 3 per cent to £239m.
Circulation revenues were also down by 9 per cent across the Mail titles in line with an industry-wide decline in print sales, but were partially offset by a 10p cover price hike on the MoS last year.
Traffic from social media and search to Mail Online has fallen over the year leading to a 13 per cent drop in daily global unique browsers to 12.9m, DMGT reported.
The total minutes spent on the site have, however, increased by two per cent to a daily average of 145m, of which 77 per cent comes from direct traffic, up three per cent on last year.
The Metro reported revenue of £71m for 2018, up 4 per cent year-on-year. The daily free title has the largest distribution in the UK at 1.4m (ABC figures for October).
DMG Media, the arm of DMGT concerned with news publishing, saw total revenue fall by 4 per cent to £654m over the year.
Adjusted operating profit for the year was down by 17 per cent to £64m, despite DMG Media benefiting from selling loss-making millennial women’s website Elite Daily to Bustle Digital Group in April 2017.
Across DMGT, adjusted group revenue for the year was down 9 per cent on last year to £1.4bn, with adjusted profit before tax down 16 per cent to £182m.
The figures are said to be in line with expectations “despite some challenging trading conditions”.
DMGT chief executive Paul Zwillenberg said: “We have made good progress against our three strategic priorities of increasing portfolio focus, improving operational execution and enhancing our financial flexibility.
“The focus of our portfolio was significantly increased by the disposals of EDR and our stake in ZPG Plc, clearly demonstrating DMGT’s long-term approach to value creation.
“As a result, our balance sheet has strengthened considerably, to a net cash position, enhancing our financial flexibility for balanced capital allocation. We have also continued to implement a series of operational initiatives across the group that is starting to gain traction.”