x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

British press baron wants to expand across India

DMGT, the publisher of The Daily Mail newspaper, plans to launch a series of daily newspaper editions in India and produce a special version of Mail Online, its popular internet site, for the subcontinent.

DMGT, the publisher of the Daily Mail, plans to launch a series of daily newspaper editions in India. Bryn Colton / Bloomberg News
DMGT, the publisher of the Daily Mail, plans to launch a series of daily newspaper editions in India. Bryn Colton / Bloomberg News

DMGT, the publisher of the Daily Mail, plans to launch daily newspaper editions in India as well as producing a special version of MailOnline, its popular internet site, for the subcontinent.

MailOnline already ranks as one of the most visited internet news sites in the world, and India represents a market with more English speakers than the US and Britain combined.

"I believe that papers like the Daily Mail have an unrivalled opportunity if they think expansively," says Lord Rothermere, the chairman of DMGT, which also has a trade publishing arm and an exhibitions business. The British press magnate pours cold water on any idea that the internet is bad for the business of journalism.

"Britain has got some of the best journalists in the world, and I think that lies behind the success of the Mail internationally. If we have the courage to expand internationally, I think the Mail has a great future ahead of it, and arguably a better future because of the internet, rather than if the internet hadn't come along."

The company already has a joint venture in Delhi, but it is looking to increase its presence throughout India "over the next few years".

This week the top management of his company are coming to Abu Dhabi to explore opportunities in the region.

"We think the Emirates is the gateway to the Middle East," he says. "We like the Emirates. We find the business environment excellent and we have a global growth strategy and have combined these two elements together."

He sees the unrest in the Arab world this year as more of an opportunity than a threat, and thinks Abu Dhabi and Dubai are an ideal hub for growing into neighbouring countries.

"We believe [the Emirates] is the staging post for India," he says. "We want to expand our exhibitions from the Emirates to India, and we have already launched into Saudi Arabia."

The group is also looking to expand into other parts of the world including China, South East Asia and South America.

DMGT's shares are down almost 30 per cent since the beginning of the year.

rwright@thenational.ae