Regional website ABCs: Online growth for publishers as website figures jump year-on-year

ABC website collage PIC MONKEY

Regional news publishers have continued to see their online audiences grow, the latest ABC website figures show.

Trinity Mirror, Johnston Press and Newsquest are all up year-on-year across their digital networks for the number of average daily unique browsers.

Newsquest saw the biggest group-wide jump over the six months to the end of June, with a 24 per cent rise year-on-year to 1.575m daily uniques, 23 per cent up on the last half of 2015.

Johnston Press was up by 22 per cent year-on-year while Trinity Mirror, which boasted the biggest number of daily uniques at 2.471m, was up 19 per cent year-on-year.

The Local World Network, owned by Trinity Mirror, was up 13 per cent year-on-year to 1.393m daily uniques.

The figures are something of a tonic to the publishers, who all saw overall print sales plummet year-on-year in the first six months of the year.

Newsquest chief Henry Faure Walker said: “We hear a lot of doom and gloom about the future of local news.

“But the truth is our journalists are engaging with local people and local communities in ever greater numbers, and there’s a phenomenal appetite for and engagement with the great local content they produce.”

He added: “At the same time we’re also seeing more and more local businesses advertising on our digital platforms because they want to work with trusted brands with relevant online audiences.

“Digital growth is a central plank of our strategy and I’m delighted at the progress we’re making but we’re not complacent and we are committed to continuing to innovate and develop our online offerings for both user and advertiser alike.”

While it faced the biggest decline in print over the same period, Johnston Press title the Wigan Evening Post recorded the biggest rise in the number of daily average unique browsers to its website wigantoday.net, which shares content with the Wigan Observer.

It was up by more than half (53 per cent) year-on-year to 26,69 daily uniques. The only website with a bigger rise was culture website wow247.co.uk, also owned by Johnston Press, with a year-on-year rise of 55 per cent.

Trinty Mirror-owned titles The Manchester Evening News, Huddersfield Examiner and Lincolnshire Echo were all up by 30 per cent or more year-on-year, as was the Newsquest-owned News Shopper website.

David Higgerson, digital publishing director for Trinity Mirror Regionals, said: “Audience growth has continued online and we are particularly pleased with the fact that the underlying engagement metrics we track show that readers are coming back more often and reading more content when they are with us.

“Local audience growth is out-stripping overall audience in all our regions, reflecting how our audience first strategy is succeeding in getting us closer to local readers online.

“Our brands have led the way within the regional press in adopting distributed platforms such as Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP, ensuring we are finding people in the places where they want content.

“We have also introduced, and continue to roll-out, the Trinity Mirror content strategy which focuses on local audience growth as a priority at a number of former Local World newsrooms and are attracting users with a wider mix of locally-relevant content.”

Only the Scotsman, Derby Telegraph, Cambridge News and Scunthorpe Telegraph saw a drop in the number of daily uniques year-on-year, out of the 79 websites audited by ABC.

Number of daily average unique browsers for regional publications over the past six months (source: ABC):

Title Owner Total % change on last six months % change year-on-year
Trinity Mirror Regional Network Trinity Mirror plc 2,471,236 25.7 19.4
Newsquest Media Group Newsquest Media Group 1,575,714 22.8 24.1
Local World Network (Web) Trinity Mirror plc 1,393,400 10.4 13.4
Johnston Network Johnston Press plc 1,189,674 14.3 22.3
Manchester Evening News Trinity Mirror plc 747,713 34 30.4
Liverpool Echo Trinity Mirror plc 524,549 24.2 12.1
Wales Online Trinity Mirror plc 392,220 51.5 50
Birmingham Mail Trinity Mirror plc 239,863 21.9 12.7
Chronicle Live Trinity Mirror plc 237,111 16.6 8.6
Midland News Association Network The Midland News Association 203,153 19.5 23.5
Expressandstar.com The Midland News Association 151,754 21.6 26.8
Kent Online (KM Group) network Kent Messenger Ltd 132,744 13.8 25.6
Bristol Post (Web) Trinity Mirror plc 110,419 13.5 24.8
Teesside Evening Gazette Trinity Mirror plc 106,074 4.7 12.7
Hull Daily Mail (Web) Trinity Mirror plc 104,167 13.3 21.5
Scotsman.com Johnston Press plc 104,001 9.6 -2.4
heraldscotland.com Newsquest Media Group 96,080 20.3 13.7
Nottingham Post (Web) Trinity Mirror plc 89,058 17 22.8
dailyecho.co.uk Newsquest Media Group 84,877 16.7 4
Stoke Sentinel Trinity Mirror plc 83,520 13.4 19
Leicester Mercury (Web) Trinity Mirror plc 82,874 13.9 19.6
Daily Post (Wales) Trinity Mirror plc 81,423 5.5 15.4
bournemouthecho.co.uk Newsquest Media Group 81,184
Plymouth Herald (Web) Trinity Mirror plc 80,777 23.4 5.9
thetelegraphandargus.co.uk Newsquest Media Group 76,166 9.9 23.7
Yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk Johnston Press plc 74,166 -2.2 6.1
Thestar.co.uk Johnston Press plc 73,248 6.8 17.5
eveningtimes.co.uk Newsquest Media Group 73,207 44.6 51.2
Derby Telegraph (Web) Trinity Mirror plc 71,585 0.2 -2.7
Huddersfield Daily Examiner Trinity Mirror plc 66,281 25.6 38.4
Eastern Daily Press Archant Ltd 65,478 6.8 23.2
thenorthernecho.co.uk Newsquest Media Group 65,188 11.1 2
Coventry Telegraph Trinity Mirror plc 62,938 12.3 6.7
theboltonnews.co.uk Newsquest Media Group 62,214 21.4 23.8
edinburghnews.scotsman.com Johnston Press plc 61,123 11.8 5.7
lancashiretelegraph.co.uk Newsquest Media Group 59,116 15.2 23.9
South Wales Evening Post (Web) Trinity Mirror plc 58,212 0.9 3.2
Shropshirestar.com The Midland News Association 56,392 12.7 12.9
thepress.co.uk Newsquest Media Group 55,922 21 26.4
Sunderlandecho.com Johnston Press plc 55,897 12.8 20.3
theargus.co.uk Newsquest Media Group 54,365 1.8 6.4
Portsmouth.co.uk Johnston Press plc 50,081 15.9 11.5
newsshopper.co.uk Newsquest Media Group 47,008 27.4 33.4
Get Reading Trinity Mirror plc 46,757
CN Media Network CN Group 46,450
southwalesargus.co.uk Newsquest Media Group 46,095
Cambridge News (Web) Trinity Mirror plc 44,546 4.7 -6.3
Get Surrey Trinity Mirror plc 43,717
Grimsby Telegraph (Web) Trinity Mirror plc 40,830 4.9 4.4
Oxfordmail.co.uk Newsquest Media Group 38,973 29 28.3
Gloucestershire Live Trinity Mirror plc 38,116 14.5 10.1
Yorkshirepost.co.uk Johnston Press plc 37,917 20.7 48
northamptonchronicle.co.uk Johnston Press plc 36,116 14.7 16.5
Swindonadvertiser.co.uk Newsquest Media Group 34,463 11.5 10.6
LEP.co.uk Johnston Press plc 34,021 -0.4 20
Blackpoolgazette.co.uk Johnston Press plc 33,086 -4.5 8.3
Lincolnshire Echo (Web) Trinity Mirror plc 32,996 23.4 38.7
Peterboroughtoday.co.uk Johnston Press plc 31,998 42.8 69.1
worcesternews.co.uk Newsquest Media Group 27,747
shieldsgazette.com Johnston Press plc 27,064 9.2 18.7
wigantoday.net Johnston Press plc 26,669 22.6 52.7
Scunthorpe Telegraph (Web) Trinity Mirror plc 24,384 -14.6 -18.3
dorsetecho.co.uk Newsquest Media Group 24,374
www.newsandstar.co.uk CN Group 23,896
East Anglian Daily Times Archant Ltd 23,264 8.1 10.6
Wow247 Johnston Press plc 23,078 -17 54.7
Ipswich Star Archant Ltd 22,327 10.4 16.2
hartlepoolmail.co.uk Johnston Press plc 21,288 2 13.2
newsletter.co.uk Johnston Press plc 20,365 67.2 73.4
Norwich Evening News Archant Ltd 16,344 5 9.9
www.nwemail.co.uk CN Group 14,856
Visiter.co.uk Trinity Mirror plc 14,363 12.5 54.9
timesandstar.co.uk CN Group 2,109
hexhamcourant.co.uk CN Group 2,021
whitehavennews.co.uk CN Group 1,471
cumberlandnews.co.uk CN Group 958
in-cumbria.com CN Group 742
cumbrialive.co.uk CN Group 573
inthebay.co.uk CN Group 431

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