Online News in March: A Story of Tragedy and Tabloids

Online News in March: A Story of Tragedy and Tabloids


We always see a kick in unique audience figures when comparing February to March due to the extra days in the month. Looking specifically at the news category, however, Nielsen Online Ratings results for March 2014 showed that big international stories like the MH370 tragedy also contributed to new, incremental audiences online for the month of March.

The top five ranking news sites by unique audience remained unchanged in March; while the Guardian and BBC re-entered the top 10, and MailOnline recorded notable growth, moving up four spots to sixth position.

The Guardian recorded significant growth during March specifically from female audiences (+38%) which is unique when compared to most news sites whose audience gains were from males. 

Consumers spend more time ‘snacking’ on news content via mobile devices

The top ten news sites increased their session engagement by an average 28 percent from February to March and exhibited increasing prevalence of mobile device engagement.

Looking at the top ten news sites, there were stronger increases in session engagement on mobile (up 41% on average), tablet sessions up (up 31% on average) and desktop sessions (up 21% on average).

Given the ever-breaking updates on major news stories this month, there were certainly increases in ‘snacking’ behaviour on news websites via mobile devices. Adding to this, online news publishers have identified what is working well and are delivering fast, up-to-date and quality content that is mobile device friendly.

Increasing options to access breaking news on-the-go and at any time via mobile devices and through numerous, quality content will see incremental audiences and engagement to online news sites continue to grow.

Top news websites by unique Australian audience – March 2014

NameUnique Audience (000)Page Views Per PersonSessions Per PersonTime Per Person (hh:mm:ss),7176313.8601:43:39,6093911.2701:12:05
ninemsn News Websites3,6022811.7800:47:14
Yahoo!7 News Websites3,113167.2300:27:21
ABC News Websites2,6673010.4700:43:48
The Age2,0204412.0901:23:35
Herald Sun1,860319.8600:59:30
The Guardian1,696155.2800:27:02

Source: Nielsen Online Ratings, Hybrid data, March 2014

Enhancements to the Nielsen Online Ratings Service
Nielsen Online Ratings results for March 2014 incorporate major enhancements to Nielsen’s online audience measurement solution. These world-leading enhancements have re-set the online universe and include a significant trend break. The results reveal that close to four-in-five Australians (17.5m) are now engaging with and consuming online content.
Click here to read more information on these enhancements.