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Print Scores Well Online

19 Oct 2011

The top seven print media websites account for more than 40 per cent of Australian internet traffic to all newspaper and magazine sites, an analysis of the top 1000 websites reveals.

The top four sites, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Herald Sun and The Australian, accounted for more than 54 million visits, according to research for the month of August compiled by online measurement company Experian Hitwise.

The analysis charted traffic on the top 1000 print media websites in Australia and found that 30 of the top 100 sites were overseas publications.

International news publications prominent on the list include The Daily Mail (8), New York Times (9), Times of India (13), The Guardian (14), The Telegraph (15), The Sun (17), The New Zealand Herald (24), The Independent (31) and The Wall Street Journal (34).

There were also some surprising performers in the website stakes.

NineMSN Money was the top site linked to a magazine (6), while The Australian Women's Weekly was the top performing magazine (23) with more than 1 million visits, and Readers Digest was close behind at 27, with 886,000 total visits. It was followed by Woman's Day (28), Grazia (29) and Notebook (30).

The research shows Australians were more willing to pay for content from overseas publishers than from local sites, as the British-based Financial Times, which has a paywall operating on some of its stories, was more popular with Australians than The Australian Financial Review.

Experian general manager Matt Glasner said it appeared that people were willing to pay for the "authority" offered by international sites compared with what was on offer in Australia. "People are willing to pay for international sites and it talks to the authority of those sites," he said. The Financial Times pay site was ranked 48th, with 401,000 Australian visits during August.

By comparison, Experian reports, The Australian Financial Review pay site attracted just 291,000 Australian visits for the same period.

The attraction of the British site, which has a paywall but offers a number of free stories, versus the local publisher, demonstrated that publishers going behind paywalls needed compelling content to compete.

The analysis reveals the dominance of a handful of publications over the attention of online readers. Regional publications demonstrated a strong attraction for audiences, led by The Sunshine Coast Daily, which had an online audience in August of more than 600,000.

Indeed, the holiday regions proved to be popular, with another strong performer.

The Geelong Advertiser found itself sandwiched between The Canberra Times and The Washington Post, each with more than 400,000 visitors. "Regional publications are picking up a regional readership," Mr Glasner said.

Another element that was important for print publications online was that the website address should match the name of the title, he said.

"Also, for a lot of publications the URL (website address) needs to be intuitive."

Rounding out the top 1000 print publication websites were Revolver magazine at 995, with 9285 visits, followed by The Great Lakes Advocate, Scoop online, Flex magazine, the Zambia Post and The Northern Echo, published in Britain.

Source: The Australian

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