DailyMail Online results: Even at huge scale, online news is hard to monetize.

The DailyMail Online is the biggest English language site in the world with 220m unique monthly actives, high engagement and virality of content. It’s a machine.

Yet, in its recent quarterly results announced today, the MailOnline reported advertising revenues of £23m on those 220m.

As the FT’s Lex column points out – that is just 10c of revenue per user.

Not much return for the huge amount of effort put into the content (same may argue that it’s doesn’t take much effort to generate more gossip on the Kardashians, but actually the MailOnline has gossip down to an art form, which is why they are the biggest).

The DailyMail Group makes more operating profit from a number of other businesses – media generates only a third of operating profit – which shows that media/news while being great for brand awareness and political influence, still struggles to generate meaningful profits.

As Flipboard and other startups in online news/media continue to struggle as well, the MailOnline results show that a very well run, optimised online news business still finds it hard to extract meaningful revenues per consumer, even at huge scale. So if the boards of the news media startups think that scale and operational efficiencies will deliver a jackpot, they might need to think again.

Diversification seems to be the key – conferences, data analytics, surveys etc should perhaps be added to the news media startup strategy. There seems to be only so far pure online advertising can go…