UK news sites record sharp fall in readers after riots, but traffic’s up overall

UK news sites record sharp fall in readers after riots, but traffic’s up overall

The riots that plagued London and many other parts of the UK back in August had a discernible, short-term benefit for one industry, with newspaper websites’ traffic significantly up over the period. And this is even more evident with September’s figures now released.

As the Guardian reports today, every audited UK newspaper recorded a big fall in traffic in September, with The Mirror Group – which includes Mirror.co.uk, reporting the biggest overall drop in online traffic, with daily users plummeting 15.34% from September to 606,268. This translated into an overall 15.7% drop in monthly traffic.

Last month we reported that in the wake of the London riots, The Telegraph recorded its highest ever monthly traffic, drawing in over 40m monthly users for the first time ever, equating to a 6.95% rise in traffic. So how did it cope in September? Well, Telegraph.co.uk saw its daily online readership fall back just over 7% to 1.9m readers, with the monthly figure dropping back below the 40m mark to 37,977,383. But the Telegraph can look on the bright side – it is still up 18.65% in traffic on the same period last year.

There’s little surprise as to who’s still top of the class in terms of online traffic, with the Daily Mail’s ‘Mail Online’ website remaining out in front by some way. But Mail Online dropped almost 10% in traffic in September, taking  its monthly users back below the 70m mark.

The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) figures also highlight the fact that most newspapers have enjoyed a big rise in traffic over the past year, as we’ve seen already with the Telegraph. Guardian.co.uk, reported the biggest growth in monthly users, up a whopping 44.78% compared to August 2010, with the Mail Online just behind on 44.12%.

With more and more people switching to the Web for news consumption, it’s little wonder we’re seeing more publications looking to monetize this traffic, as we saw a few weeks back with the Independent launching a paywall for international readers, and titles such as the Times introducing a paid business model for all readers some time back.

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