The latest UK ABCe figures showed that three national newspaper websites attracted more than 30 million unique users for the first time in September, reported the Guardian. Guardian.co.uk's count was the highest, with just under 33 million, up 23.62% from August and showing a 36.25% year on year increase.
The Telegraph's website was up 24.83% from August to over 31 million uniques, a 35.17% year-on-year increase. And the Daily Mail just topped 30 million, up 67.71% from a year ago and up by 4.74% last month. Overall, the figures seemed more positive than September's print sales, as recorded by ABC.
"Breaking 30 million users is another milestone for guardian.co.uk. We are delighted to see a healthy interest in online news across the board," Emily Bell, director of digital content at Guardian News and Media, told the Guardian. "Both our global and UK success can be attributed to our sustained investment in web content. The newly launched environment site attracted a significant number of new users and our new TV site, offering user-friendly listings, has encouraged repeat visitors and increased engagement."
36% of the Guardian's online readers came from the UK, making it the most popular domestic website with 11,882,653 unique visitors from the UK. The Mail had 9.487,073 UK users, or 31% of its total online audience. The Mirror had the highest proportion of domestic users, noted the Guardian, with 53% of its total.
Guardian writer Mercedes Bunz pointed out that much of the month on month overall increase of 9.6% that papers experienced, to a total of 153.2 million unique users, came from overseas rather than from domestic readers. In September, the number of unique users in fact increased only slightly compared to August, with 54.7 million from 52.3 million.
Wherever the users are coming from, it must be welcomed that more people are reading UK newspapers online. The big question, however, is how to monetise this traffic most effectively: if advertising cannot bring in enough money, what can? Is charging online the solution, or just a way to make these vast numbers fall?