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ABCs: Web traffic surge sees readers hit online path hard

The UK’s leading regional press groups are finding plenty of “good reading” in online audience figures as the shift in platform loyalty grows stronger by the day.

The ABC results for the first half of 2014 continue the marked trend towards the web for news browsing – once the sole prerogative of newspaper readers flicking through the pages of their favourite product.

Local World took the first prize for biggest increase in the year-on-year visitor figures – up 95pc on the corresponding period in 2013.

The rise from 466,000 daily unique browsers to 909,000 saw them overtake Johnston Press but another massive surge of interest for Newsquest’s websites – up 45 pc – has seen them grab top spot in the league table.

Newsquest’s regional sites pushed daily unique browsers from 643,000 to 936,000.

Mark Smith, Newsquest’s digital director said: “We’re particularly delighted with such a dramatic increase in the number of people visiting our sites each day.

“We had previously been slightly ahead of our nearest peer on daily uniques but we’ve now opened up a clear gap which suggests our programme of editorial and product development is bearing fruit.”

In the first half of the year Newsquest launched a new responsive mobile site across its network and has just this week launched a new look desktop site.

There was more of the same at the family-owned Kent Messenger Group.

KentOnline has seen its audience double twice in growth terms year-on-year in successive six-month periods.

This time it rose by 91pc year-on-year, according to the January-June 2014 stats – taking the daily unique browsers from 34,577 to 66,287.

It follows a 96.4pc year-on-year increase for the second half of last year. Monthly unique browsers have broken through the one million barrier to 1.218m, up a third.

The huge audience growth continues a trend that saw KentOnline named the UK’s fastest-growing regional news network in the July to December 2013 ABC release.

KM Group editorial director Ian Carter said: “There are many different strategies for growing your digital audience, but we have opted to concentrate on what we do best – high-quality, relevant local journalism that serves our readers well and delivers the best results for our advertisers.

“Our newspapers remain a vital part of our portfolio but our digital growth, along with the recent strong Rajar result for our radio stations and the award of the TV licence for Maidstone and Tonbridge, show we are continuing to develop as a truly multi-media company.

Here are the multi-platform figures comparing print circulation and daily unique users for Johnston Press, Local World, Newsquest and the Midland News Association.

Sales UUs Change
Johnston Network 801,795 24.5pc 29,540 52.2pc
The Gazette, Blackpool 14,174 -14.2pc 12,558 5.7pc
Halifax Courier 16,747 -10.9pc 21,727 11.5pc
Lancashire Evening Post 14,902 -13.4pc 18,948 34.3pc 38,253 1.9pc
The News & Sports Mail, Portsmouth 27,954 -8.6pc 160,118 33.8pc -24.3pc
The Scotsman 27,208 32,260 56.3pc
Sunderland Echo & Football Echo 20,530 -17.9pc 44,919 26.7pc
Sheffield Star & Green ‘Un 23,238 -17.2pc 61,506 44.2pc
Yorkshire Evening Post 23,959 -17.2pc
Yorkshire 28,658 43.2pc
Yorkshire Post 31,022 -9.2pc
KM Group
Kent Online (KM Group) network 66,287 91.7pc
Local World Network (Web) 909,367 95.1pc
Bristol Post (Web) 59,624 82.9pc
The Post 25,182 -14.6pc
Cambridge News (Web) 40,326 47.5pc
Cambridge News
Derby Telegraph (Web) 50,084 72.6pc
Derby Telegraph 25,217 -9.1pc
Gloucester Citizen/Gloucestershire Echo (Web) 25,519 -4.3pc
Grimsby Telegraph (Web) 30,127 41.8pc
Hull Daily Mail (Web) 62,181 61.2pc
Hull Daily Mail 35,117 -8.3pc
Leicester Mercury (Web) 49,208 53.9pc
Leicester Mercury 35,006 -12.9pc
Lincolnshire Echo (Web) 22,465 41.6pc
Nottingham Post (Web) 53,591 41.9pc
Nottingham Post 23,533 -13.1pc
Plymouth Herald (Web) 55,400 82.3pc
The Herald, Plymouth 21,783 -13.5pc
Scunthorpe Telegraph (web) 18,412 20,715 100.9pc
South Wales Evening Post (Web) 67.2pc
South Wales Evening Post 28,477 -14.9pc
Stoke Sentinel (web) 46,570 53.6pc
The Sentinel 37,481 -10.5pc
Midland News Association Network 143,335 64.0pc 106,231 60.9pc 74.2pc
Shropshire Star 36,756 -14.7pc
Newsquest Media Group 936,909 45.5pc 55,744 42.9pc
Southern Daily Echo 22,397 -16.6pc 34,139 73.1pc
Glasgow Evening Times 33,397 -14.9pc 87,795 37.2pc
The Herald 37,728 -8.1pc
Sunday Herald 25,125 1.0pc 37,662 28.8pc
Lancashire Telegraph 13,092 -28.4pc 24,293 47.6pc 26,728 46.5pc
Oxford Mail 12,773 -22.9pc 24,748 16.8pc
Swindon Advertiser 11,987 -22.7pc 40,236 17.7pc
The Argus, Brighton 14,370 -13.5pc 35,772 62.7pc
The Bolton News 12,351 -28.8pc 43,916 47.0pc
Northern Echo 30,735 -12.7pc 39,738 40.8pc
The Press, York 19,643 -10.9pc 45,225 44.6pc
Bradford Telegraph & Argus 18,906 -12.6pc



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  • August 28, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    what local advertisers will want to know though is what % of that traffic is local. I bet it will be hard to find out – so much of the traffic is passing random stuff from all over the globe – fine for big brands but no good to butcher/baker…step in the right direction though.

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  • August 28, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Don’t want to pour ice on the whole think (being very on topic!) but if more people are buying internet enabled devices phones, tablets, computers then you would think web traffic would inevitably rise – it might not mean that the industry is doing something right it’s just following the wave set by society and at some point it will plateau.

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