Every month i’ll do a comparision between each of the UK’s major newspaper’s circulations and their online counterpart’s unique users.
I am going to do this over the course of 2009 (and beyond?) to see if there are any trends that take place. To start with, let’s take a look at November 2008, to find where we are stood on the brink of 2009.
Let’s begin by looking at The Sun. It is the most popular daily paper with a circulation of just over 3 million. But it is not the most popular paper online, that accolade goes to the Guardian, which gets over 26 million unique users per month, despite having a circulation of a mere 358,000.
What is the reason for this?
I would hedge a bet that the numbers that read the Guardian website abroad, are far greater than those that read the Sun. After all, are you more likely to believe a news story on the Sun’s website or the Guardian’s if you are judging both titles by their individual reputations before reading?
The unique users per month figure for the Guardian is staggering, but I think there are several factors for this.
1) Their website is easy to navigate and pleasant to look at, much more so than that of the Indy, for example.
2) The Guardian website is more rich in content, and the blogs are updated it seems much more often. Take the Guardian technology blog which is updated several times daily, even on a slow news day.
3) The Guardian’s website appears to be more heavily promoted – I rarely see the Independent’s site mentioned in the newspaper or in their adverts.
What I do find surprising is the Sun’s website and readership numbers, in contrast to their main rivals the Daily Mirror. The Mirror has roughly half the amount of readers yet a third of the unique users. What is the reason for this? Again I think that the perception of the paper comes into it, and I would hazard a guess that more foreign readers of English media are likely to have heard of the Sun than the Mirror.
As the year runs on, i’ll be able to include graphs and look in more depth at any trends that begin to form.
Will the Guardian keep top spot online or will the Daily telegraph regain it’s crown? Will newspaper sales slide as a whole, or will some do better than others?
Over the course of the coming months, we’ll find out!