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UK news brands see online growth

News, 21 March 2016
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LONDON: Several UK online news brands witnessed impressive double-digit growth in visitor numbers in the year to February 2016, according to the latest industry figures.

London's Evening Standard stood out with a 51% year-on-year increase in its total monthly online audience of nearly 10m browsers, reported Newsworks, the marketing body for national newspapers.

Citing data covering February from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), Newsworks said the Evening Standard also achieved a 47% increase in daily average traffic compared with the same period last year.

The Guardian, the UK's second most popular website after MailOnline, attracted 8.9m browsers a day in February, a year-on-year increase of 21%. Its monthly total was 147.8m browsers, or an increase of 25% since February 2015.

Other national titles also saw healthy year-on-year increases in monthly browsers. The Telegraph, for example, totalled nearly 85m unique browsers, up 12% over the year, while the Mirror recorded 75m unique browsers in February, or a rise of 13%.

With 221m unique monthly browsers, MailOnline was by far the most popular online UK news brand that, interestingly, attracted 70% of its visitors from overseas.

February's circulation figures also revealed two other noticeable developments. The number of the Sun's average daily unique browsers jumped 7% since January to just over 2m after it dropped its subscription paywall in November last year.

Secondly, the Independent, which recently announced that it will become digital only, recorded an average 2.9m unique browsers a day, a 22% increase year-on-year. Its monthly visitors reached 56.6m in February, or 19% higher than in February 2015.

The year-long statistics provides some good news for UK online news groups, although only the Sun and the Guardian saw increases in daily average visitors since January – of 7.16% and 1.23% respectively.

However, these declines since January are most likely to be explained by unusually high digital readership between December and January.

This was a month when the news heavily covered the deaths of David Bowie and actor Alan Rickman, which is likely to have drawn international readers to UK news sites.

Data sourced from Newsworks, Independent, Guardian; additional content by Warc staff

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