Media update: News UK's 'editorial u-turn'; lessons in democracy from Scotland's indyref new media scene; mobile traffic overtakes desktop for major publishers

This week's media update includes more on News UK's move into native advertising; a documentary from The Drum on the new media scene in Scotland which emerged amid the independence referendum debate - interviews with editors from the Sunday Herald, the Scotsman, STV, Wings Over Scotland, Newsnet Scotland and Bella Caledonia are featured; news from the National Readearship Survey (NRS) on mobile traffic pushing ahead of desktop; a pre-close trading update from the Daily Mail and General Trust; the latest expansion from the Huffington Post; and News Corp's swipe at Google.

News UK's 'editorial u-turn' on native advertising

News UK last week announced plans to follow in the steps of publishers such as the Guardian, Metro and The Drum and launch an in-house native advertising unit.

In an interview with The Drum, Tiffanie Darke – currently editor of Style, who will leave the Sunday Times to head up the launch – conceded that the publisher had moved into the space late, but said News UK would benefit from avoiding the mistakes already made by other publishers.

“I think News UK’s strategy is always to watch everybody else go into the space and learn from their mistakes and follow up the rear and do it a lot better. So that’s what we’re doing,” she said.

News UK had previously focused on developing its paywall subscription structure while other non-paywall publishers pursued newer ad techniques such as native. With the combination of both, commercial partners will benefit from their content sitting in front of the paywall to guarantee a limitless audience, Darke said.

What other democracies can learn from Scotland's indyref new media movement

Well, it’s all over – for now, anyway. The country was struck by indyref-mania last week, and a big topic of discussion within the debate was the role the media played. With that in mind, The Drum decided to investigate, and the result is this documentary detailing the apparent shortcomings of some mainstream media outlets and the rise of Scotland’s new media – websites like Wings Over Scotland, Newsnet Scotland and Bella Caledonia.

Mobile traffic overtakes desktop for publishers

Traffic coming from smartphone and tablet devices overtook traffic from desktop over the last year, according to statistics released last week from the National Readership Survey (NRS).

The figures – compiled from the views of 36,000 people – showed that the Daily Mirror pulled in 6.2 million monthly users from mobile devices compared to 4.9 million on desktop between July 2013 and June 2014.

Furthermore, Mail Online saw mobile traffic of 10.8 million views compared to 9.6 million from desktop. Metro followed the pattern with 4.6 million views from mobile devices compared to 2.9 million on desktop.

The figures also revealed the gulf in potential readership for titles using a paywall – while the paywall-free Guardian boasted 12.5 million monthly visitors in the last year, subscription News UK title the Times has a base of just 365,000 digital readers.

Digital ad revenue up but overall ad revenue down for DMG Media

In its pre-close trading update last week, the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMG), publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail Online, said its digital advertising revenue growth had offset the decline in print advertising but overall ad revenue was down by two per cent.

Digital ad revenue grew up by 49 per cent to £53m while print advertising revenue fell by a smaller margin of £10m to £172m. However, overall ad revenue still fell by two per cent, while circulation revenue dropped by five per cent. In total, DMG media overall revenue was down by four per cent.

DMG said the figures were “in line with last year” and noted its monthly unique browsers for August had increased by almost a third (30 per cent) year on year to 180 million.

'Homecoming' for Arianna Huffington as HuffPost plans Greece launch

The Huffington Post has announced its latest move amid a global expansion with a plan to launch in Greece.

The AOL-owned company, which has over the last 18 months expanded into markets such as the UK, France, Germany, Korea, Japan and Brazil, will partner with 24Media in Greece for the launch, as well as Greek financial partners. The title’s global expansion involves teaming up with a local title in each region to give the publisher a more established base.

HuffPost Greece will be based in Athens and launch officially in November. Editor in chief Arianna Huffington – who is from Greece – said the launch would be “the ultimate homecoming” for her.

HuffPost also recently announced plans to launch in India and the Arab world within the next six months. However, plans to launch a Russian version were shelved earlier this year over the Ukraine crisis.

News Corp slams Google

News Corp took a swipe at Google last week over its “overwhelming power” and calling it a “cynical giant”.

According to News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson, Google has “evolved from a wonderfully feisty, creative Silicon Valley startup to a vast, powerful, often unaccountable bureaucracy.”

He also claimed that Googled failed to respect intellectual property rights and accused it of “commodifying” media companies’ content.

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