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Editor Danny Groom on why ‘market leader’ Mail Online is expanding royal coverage

Mail Online boss Danny Groom said the royal growth has "huge editorial and commercial possibilities".

By Charlotte Tobitt

The Mail is doubling down on royal coverage in its mission for “richer, deeper engagement” with its audience.

The brand has launched a new royal channel on its UK-based Mail Online, Dailymail.com in the US and Daily Mail Australia websites.

As well as the British royal family, it will include regular coverage of the likes of the royal households of Monaco and Morocco and promises breaking news, analysis, events, archive material, and related lifestyle coverage.

Danny Groom, publisher and editor of Mail Online in the UK, is leading the project which the Mail said will enable the output of royal coverage around the clock from London, New York, Los Angeles and Sydney.

In an exclusive first interview since he took on his role last year, Groom told Press Gazette that “without a shadow of a doubt” the Mail still has plenty of room to grow its royal coverage.

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“The main focus for me and for the wider business in general is a kind of richer, deeper engagement with our readers,” he said.

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“I’m a great believer in playing to your strengths and I think obviously one of our greatest strengths is our royal coverage, which I’m pretty sure that no one would dispute – we are the market leader when it comes to royal coverage. We’ve got a stable of writers and royal experts which is the envy of the publishing world.

“So I think it’s really a case of giving people more of what they love and to develop a multi-platform international stage for our fantastic stable of writers and experts.”

Sean Walsh, global chief brand officer at DMG Media, added: “Daily Mail has been documenting the royal family since 1896 and with King Charles’ historic coronation next month, our loyal readers will have access to the most up to date and truly global royal news 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

The channel also builds on the growth of Palace Confidential, which launched as a weekly Mail+ talk show in January 2020 and has also launched as a podcast and a newsletter. Groom said Palace Confidential has been a “runaway success both in the UK but particularly in the US”.

Groom, who helped to set up Dailymail.com in the US for three years from 2010 and has since worked as US editor and acting global editor following the departure of Martin Clarke last year, added that the project has “huge editorial and commercial possibilities”.

He said: “We’ve had some extremely positive responses from major clients. We’ve secured a couple of sponsorship deals for the royal channel. But the feedback we have is that it’s very attractive from the commercial viewpoints. They love our coverage. As with the readers, they basically just want more of it.”

The Mail has “diverted” some of its existing journalists and resources to produce increased output for the channel, with some dedicated roles on the project alongside the use of content from the global newsrooms.

Of this global collaboration, Groom said: “We’ve always worked that way but I think more than ever we are now very much a global publisher and everything that we do, whether it’s this kind of thing or any kind of collaboration on big stories or big projects, the first question is how do we make it work on an international level? And what does this mean for the US audience? What does it mean for the Australian audience?

“I think the world is shrinking from a publishing viewpoint, so it’s very much a case of collaboration and working together.”

Groom said the project “feeds into the greater print-digital collaboration that we’re going through at the moment” with senior executives from both the print and digital sides of the business working together ahead of the launch.

In September staff were told the Daily Mail and Mail Online, previously run as largely separate operations, would work “much closer together” to “fully harness their formidable story-getting power” and end unnecessary duplication.

The digital drive continued in March when the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday were also brought closer, something Mail Newspapers editor-in-chief Ted Verity said was necessary to adapt to increasingly digital news consumption by “aggressively investing in digital expansion”.

Groom said of the changes: “It is genuinely going extremely well. There’s a great desire on all sides to collaborate and to work together and to think about more than one platform and I think we’re starting to see the results both in terms of the performance of some of the print content online and also the way that that is being given a platform outside of the UK.

“So on an operational level, it’s working extremely well, but that is now kind of seeping out into our products across the world.”

The Daily Mail has one of the biggest Tiktok followings of any news organisation in the world. With this project, it is launching a spinoff account for its royal coverage featuring news, analysis from experts and archive footage.

Groom said: “We have a very large Tiktok following already and it’s very successful, it’s growing and we’re going to put lots more resources into that. But the feeling was we have this huge appetite for the royals across all our platforms and it’s a case of maximising that coverage on pretty much every platform and Tiktok just seemed like the obvious place to start.”

That is, in part, because of a changing appetite from young people for royal content, he continued.

“Generally speaking I think that the media landscape in terms of the royals has changed a lot over the past couple of years.

“It’s a combination of things – there’s obviously the passing of the Queen, I think you’ve got the way that Netflix has entered the market as well in various formats and, of course, you’ve got The Crown as well, which has introduced a whole new genre particularly to young readers where they’ve become interested in royal history and people who are a generation behind them.

“So I think definitely there’s more interest from young people in the royals and not just the circus that is the British royal family, but royals across the world… I just think it’s completely changed over the past couple of years in terms of the range and the breadth and the age of the people who are interested in the royals is completely you know, it’s a lot wider.”

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