ABC closes out 2020 on top of Digital Content Ratings

ABC News once again led the pack in Nielsen’s December Digital Content Ratings, ending 2020 with a unique audience of 11.4 million, despite a 6.9% month-on-month drop.

The public broadcaster – which first surged to the top in January 2020 and remained there for the entire year due to readers’ reliance on its bushfire and COVID-19 coverage – also easily led in average time spent on the site (almost 43 minutes) and sessions per person (11.6). continued its ascension up the ratings, overtaking to land in second place for the month of December.

According to the Nielsen data, released today, grew 0.9% month-on-month for a unique audience of 10.6 million, enough to knock out of second spot given the latter’s 5.7% decline and unique audience of 10.4 million. sat in fifth place in September, jumping to third in October and remaining there in November.

At the other end of the list of the best-performing news outlets, News Corp’s the Herald Sun clawed into the top 10, elbowing stablemate The Australian out of the way thanks to an 8.4% jump to a unique audience of 3.2 million.

Source: Nielsen. Click to enlarge

Seven News gained one spot to finish in fourth position and secured a unique audience of 9.4 million (but only had an average time spent of 7:27), pushing The Sydney Morning Herald down to fifth spot with a unique audience of 9.1 million. The SMH experienced the biggest decline of any outlet in the top 10, with its unique audience falling by 11.1%.

The Daily Mail remained stable at sixth, as did The Guardian in seventh position, The Age at eighth, and Australian Community Media at ninth. ACM had both the lowest average time spent (5:12) and sessions per person (3.2).

Australians spent 36.31 million hours consuming online news content in December, a jump of 22% year-on-year, but a fall month-on-month. In November, that figure sat at 40.4 million hours (including 10.8 million hours in the first week alone) due to the US Presidential Election.

The election coverage likely accounts for many of the outlets’ month-on-month declines in unique audiences in the month after. Only, ACM, and the Herald Sun experienced month-on-month growth in December.

Source: Nielsen. Click to enlarge

There was a 43% year-on-year uplift in cumulative time spent consuming online news, driven by reader interest in significant news stories such as the bushfires, COVID-19, and US Presidential Election.

Among the smaller publishers, Nielsen’s figures showed Junkee grew an enormous 56% to a unique audience of 831,933. Pedestrian landed on a unique audience of 4.16 million, Urban List had 1.47 million (a 15% month-on-month increase), and Vice 1.19 million.


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