ABC digital audience surges 53% in March as Australian hunger for news increases

ABC News Websites has held the top spot in the Nielsen Digital Content Ratings (DCR) for the third month, increasing its unique audience (UA) in March by 53% to 15.185m.

The outlet held a sizeable lead over its closest rival,, which had 12.278m UA, a 31% rise from February. February is typically a weaker month for numbers.

After became the first publisher to top 11m in UA several months ago, seven of the top 10 publishers pushed past the figure in March, including which shot to third place with 11.850m UA – a 38% rise.

Nielsen’s top ten news and current events websites in March 2020 [Click to enlarge]

ABC News Websites also held the most time spent per person among the top ten sites with 48:10 minutes per user, followed by on 42:19. 7News’ users spent 08:27 minutes on its pages.

The Guardian leapt into fourth place with 11.609m UA and 19:35 minutes on page, a whopping 104% increase from February.

Lenore Taylor, editor of Guardian Australia, said that incredible audience growth demonstrates high levels of trust.

“I’m proud and delighted that 11.6m Australians have put their trust in Guardian Australia’s journalism at this time,” said Taylor.

“Our Australian editorial team, and Guardian journalists around the world, are delivering distinctive, fact-based news and sharp commentary and analysis to inform and explain the events we are all living through.

“I’d also like to thank our Guardian Australia readers, who have provided so much support and encouragement in the seven years since we launched here, and who have now made us the fourth most read news site in the nation.”

Across the board, all of the top 10 news sites hit new highs. Daily Mail Australia took fifth place with 11.587m, a 46% increase, drew a UA of 11.560m, up 46% also. held 11.193m, up 66% and Australian Community Media Network delivered 5.539m – up 30%

Time spent by hour on news and current events websites March 2020 [Click to enlarge]

Nielsen also reported increases in time spent with the overall current events and global news subcategory – reaching 51m hours in total for the month of March 2020 – up over 20m hours since December 2019.

From 1 March, 2020 Nielsen upgraded the unique audience scaling methodology from a frequency-based scaling methodology to one that incorporates a combination of ​frequency and overlap factors​ between mobile applications and browsers to better reflect changing digital user behaviour.


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