Media Lifeline: Associated New Media

The digital arm behind the Mail online has just acquired findaproperty.co.uk 1995: Associated's digital division debuts with a strategy of launching standalone brands. Rejects the idea of electronic newspapers, though ThisIsLondon.co.uk is the Evening Standard in all but name. Plans ThisIsMoney.co.uk and CharlotteStreet.com.

2000: Although launched only the previous year, backed by a £10 million budget, Charlotte Street is already struggling and faces ever-more-ferocious head-to-head competition from a handful of other ambitious women's portals, including Handbag.com. In September, ANM pulls the plug, deciding to relaunch the site in a far more modest form as femail.co.uk. The dotcom bubble is about to burst.

2001: Having failed to develop profitable businesses from either display advertising or e-commerce revenues, ANM decides to refocus on the classified advertising market. With this in mind, it launches ThisIsTravel.com and, even more significantly, acquires Loot.com, an online version of the classified ad market. A new structure, Associated New Ventures, is created to manage both the online and offline versions of Loot.

January 2004: ANM has now built a robust portfolio of "This Is" brands, and has become a major player in online recruitment advertising at a local (londonjobs.co.uk) and national (jobsite.co.uk) level. Having branched out into property with HomesandProperty.co.uk, it now takes the plunge and enters the electronic newspaper business with the launch of dailymail.co.uk, featuring content from the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday.

November 2004: Buys the property website findaproperty.co.uk for £13.8 million. It is the UK's third-most visited property website and is profitable on annual revenues of around £2 million. Associated says it will create a new management structure for the acquisition.

Fast forward: 2007 Now the UK's dominant player in online recruitment, travel and personal finance advertising, digital media profits are starting to rival those of the established Associated newsprint properties. Having at last persuaded the Daily Mail to stop running scare stories warning of the evils of the internet, ANM launches a women's portal called Rathbone Place.

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