Aussie news sites engaging users longer than their US peers

Australian news sites have a much higher level of engagement with their readers than their US counterparts, new data suggests.

An analysis of Nielsen Online data seen by Mumbrella indicates that readers spend much longer every month on Australian sites than American users do with theirs. And they spend the most time with the two Fairfax masthead sites The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald.  

In April, users spent an average of 49.7 minutes per month on the site – up from 31.7 minutes during the same period in 2008. And users spent 43.1 minutes per month with – up 107% on April 2008.

The site with the next largest monthly engagement was the independently owned Business Spectator with 42.2 minutes per month.

News Ltd’s followed with 29 minutes.

Other News Ltd properties include The Australian (21.7 minutes); Melbourne’s Herald Sun (21.6 minutes); Adelaide Now (16.2 minutes);  Sydney’s Daily Telegraph (15.9 minutes); Brisbane’s Courier Mail (14.7 minutes); Perth Now (12.1 minutes).

However, other Fairfax sites are less sticky. Brisbanetimes attracts just 9.3 minutes of users’ time each month and WAtoday just 6.1 minutes.

The West Australian – now allied to Kerry Stokes’ Seven empire – also has relatively healthy engagement attracting users for 26.4 minutes per month.

Only two Australian news sites are judged to have gone backwards according to the numbers. Fairfax’s Australian Financial Review is engaging users for 6.7 minutes per month, down 2% on a year before. And ninemsn’s National Nine News site is down 5% to 6.7 minutes per month.

By comparison, the best known American papers generally attract users for shorter periods each month. clocks up just 29.6 minutes; 10.5 minutes; USA Today 16.1 minutes. Not even the Star Tribune in Minneapolis – the US’s stickiest news site at 41.1 minutes per month – can outperform The Age, the SMH or Business Spectator.

However, while the figures are a useful indicator of a site’s engagement with readers, they are by no means the only metric – a particular story could temporarily drive a greater number of unique users who, if they do not return, would push down the overall average time.


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