Mail closing gap on Guardian's web lead

Four national newspaper websites posted record traffic figures in January, and all five titles that regularly publish ABCe audits showed significant growth.

Mail Online led the charge, as it continued to close the gap on Guardian.co.uk in January, despite record traffic at both sites, new figures from ABCe show.

The website of the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday had 17.9 million monthly unique users in January, up 164 per cent year on year, and was 1.8 million users shy of the figure posted by Guardian.co.uk – the closest any newspaper has come to catching the figure of the market-leading site since September 2001.

Guardian.co.uk, which was still known as Guardian Unlimited during the January audit period, continued to set the pace for national newspaper websites with a record 19.7 million unique users in January, a figure up 23 per cent year on year.

The Sun Online recorded a 40 per cent rise year on year. More than 13 million unique users visited the Sun’s website during a month when it boasted several high-profile exclusives, including a video which appeared to show Amy Winehouse smoking a crack pipe.

The Sun Online’s traffic was heaviest on the day the Winehouse story broke. On a typical weekday in January, The Sun Online recorded around 800,000 unique users. But on 22 January, when the Winehouse story broke, the site recorded 1.55 million unique users. Another 1.14 million visited the site the following day.

Overall, The Sun Online had just over 13 million monthly unique users in January, a 40 per cent year-on-year increase.

Times Online, meanwhile, was up more than 38 per cent year on year, to 15 million unique users.

Telegraph.co.uk recorded 65 per cent year-on-year growth, to 12.3 million unique users.

The January ABCe report marked the first time that ABC published print and online audience figures for all national newspapers together in a single document

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