All the leading regional press groups saw an increase in online readership during the second half of 2013, the latest report has shown.
The ABC multi-platform results show that daily visitor figures increased across the main regional press networks over the last 12 months.
Of all the regional press companies, the Kent Messenger Group had the biggest increase of 96.4pc year-on-year to 49,015 daily users.
Local World saw its daily unique browsers rise by 67.3pc year-on-year to 622,201, while Newsquest saw their daily browsers increase by 40.6pc to 731,495.
Among the websites which had a rise in numbers was the Blackpool Gazette with a rise of 25.2pc in daily unique browsers to 21,179.
Among the titles to see the biggest increase in figures was The Express & Star which boosted its daily unique browsers by 46.6pc to 80,219.
Newshopper.co.uk improved daily unique browsers by 63.3pc to 19,523 and the Grimsby Telegraph’s website was up by 51.7pc.
Lisa Gordon, corporate development director for Local World, said: “We have built strong and consistent momentum in our digital audience growth through a focus on the quality of our content and the user experience, with the launch of the branded title websites across the portfolio in the last six months following the closure of the ThisIs network.
“We are now deploying the same focused approach to our print products to ensure our brands – in both digital and print – are the strongest in their markets.”
KM Group editorial director Ian Carter said: “We believe these figures show that you can rapidly develop your digital portfolio whilst maintaining high-quality print titles.
“Our newspapers are a hugely important part of our portfolio, and we are unique in having launched two successful paid-for titles in the past two years, but these figures show we are rapidly changing our business to meet the needs of our audience.
“Our online and print audience, combined with our network of kmfm radio stations, give us unrivalled penetration across Kent.”
Alex Gubbay, director of digital platforms for Johnston Press, said: “It’s heartening to see Johnston Press stay in the top spot as the UK regional publisher with the largest monthly digital audience.
“The launch of the new-look news websites in the middle of last year combined with hard – and creative – digital work on the part of teams right across the group is clearly paying off.”
Herald and Times Group managing director Tim Blott said: “The changing face of news consumption is making platforms less relevant than the content they deliver.”
“Doom and gloom stories of newspapers’ demise are way off the mark. It’s time to focus on revenue and audience growth across all platforms and drop the commentators’ outdated preoccupation with print.
“I’ll print newspapers for so long as people want to buy them – and they continue to have a distinct and enduring market – but our projected revenue stream is all about multi-platform access now.
“The influence wielded by quality news providers such as the Herald & Times Group has in fact never been greater.
“The fact is that online subscription revenue models are working and that overall digital revenues are growing.”