Making Profit Online – The Bottom Line


One of the best programmes on the radio is The Bottom Line presented by Evan Davis.  It’s on Radio 4, but reversioned for World Service and News 24 – the BBC News Channel.

Carolyn McCall is Chief Executive of the Guardian Newspaper Group, publishers of The Guardian, The Observer, Manchester Evening News and Auto Trader and some radio stations and EMAP. She was one of the guests on a recent edition of The Bottom Line.

What she said stopped me in my tracks.  It wasn’t that newspapers are facing difficult times, or that some newspapers exist for influence rather than profit.  It wasn’t that the Guardian has 30 million unique users on the website.  

 It was about Auto Trader. She said it  “… has trasitioned from being  a magazine business to being predominantly a digital business.  It still has magazines but about £100 million of its profit now is digital profit.”

£100,000,000 from the web. Profit.

Let the discusion begin.

3 Replies to “Making Profit Online – The Bottom Line”

  1. mj

    AutoTrader’s content is user generated content. They make their money from selling adverts, from users and businesses.
    e.g. Advertise from £1 per day, reaching 10 million people per month. And it ties in with the magazine with transmedia delivery – video slideshows, partnering sites, syndication to their newspaper chain.

    I’m not surprised it’s making money.

    The issue will be for the traditional newspaper. Though they should be pursuing option to go digital there’s still a holdover which relies on dead tree edition manufacture, transport and retail. I’d bet many newspapers would love to kill off their dead tree edition!

  2. Niall McKeown

    In the words of Martin Sorrill – “Only one website is making a profit out of any newspaper group in the UK at the moment”. He was referring to autotrader in a recent BBC 2 documentry.

    In the same documentary the Editor of the Guardian admitted that their recent purchase of traditional printing presses will be their last purchase of a printing press. “This is not an economical business” – Alan Rusbridger referring to traditional printed newspapers.

    Autotrader is the exception. Why is it that the exception is often reported to be the rule? I believe that peer review publications are essential, just not on ecological unsound, costly, time bound newsprint as we know it. The world demands quality reporting and has to learn to pay for it differently otherwise you just end up reading rants like this! 😉

  3. rutherford

    Autotrader is a marketplace. Should it not be compared with Ebay, Google Adwords & the likes?

    Print may have been the medium, but that is the only common denominator between Autotrader & ‘the press’.

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