Its print media may not be the powerhouse it once was, but Australia continues to attract the world’s biggest online news outlets.
Hot on the heels of the UK newspaper Guardian’s Australia site, the Huffington Post and the UK Daily Mail's MailOnline are believed to be opening in Sydney, possibly before the end of the year.
MailOnline, the world’s largest English language newspaper website, lodged applications for trade marks for MailOnline Australia and Daily Mail Australia on October 7.
‘‘We have been trying to get the domains in our big markets for over a year or so,’’ said managing editor of MailOnline, Rhiannon Macdonald. ‘‘Our audience in August was $137 million - as a matter of policy, we’ve started buying domain names where we have the largest audience.’’
Outside the UK, MailOnline's biggest audiences are the US, Canada and Australia, she said.
Despite the moves, Martin Clarke, its publisher and editor, told PANPA’s Future Forum audience in August that he had no intention of opening in Australia.
MailOnline has swelled 1500 per cent in six years to 8 million visitors a day, with an Australian audience strong enough to place it 14th in news sites according to Nielsen figures for the year to April.
It will be in good company should the Huffington Post also arrive on local soil.
Bought by AOL in 2011 for a reported $US315m ($330.69), the American site has emerged as a juggernaut of online commentary, news and video channels, helmed by Arianna Huffington.
She reportedly confirmed in April that her team wanted to launch in Australia but is not in active discussions with potential partners.
Daniel Sankey, former online editor of The Age, is believed to have left his position to take up the reins at a nascent Huffington Post Australia. ‘‘I couldn’t confirm or deny anything at the moment,’’ he said before explaining that he had signed a confidentiality agreement regarding his new role.
We have been trying to get the domains in our big markets for over a year or so
Meanwhile, like a remora on a whale, West Virginia news site, the Charleston Daily Mail, may be advantaging from the success of MailOnline.
The American news site is the proud owner of dailymail.com, preventing the news giant from owning the straightforward url.
‘‘There were 62,620 visits from the United Kingdom to our website over the past month,’’ said Charleston Daily Mail editor and publisher, Brad McElhinny. ‘‘Our Facebook page, which clearly says 'Charleston Daily Mail' also has an inexplicable international following: 523 followers from Nigeria, 185 from Indonesia, 144 from India, 122 from Ghana, 88 from Kenya and 80 from the United Kingdom. I have to think most of those are mistakenly following us.’’
Said one source from MailOnline: ‘‘Martin Clarke only wishes he was the owner of the Charleston Daily Mail.’’
* An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Daily Mail had purchased the domain name dailymail.com.au. The URL is currently owned by paparazzo photographer Jamie Fawcett, who said he has been approached about selling the URL.