One month after The Punch’s launch, Crikey still leads

Despite cross promotion from its News Ltd family, The Punch has attracted only a moderate audience in its first month of operations, data suggests.  

alexa-the-punch-crikey-new-matildaAccording to online audience measurement service Alexa, The Punch has so far failed to overhaul its biggest commentry rival Crikey. However, it appears to have already moved past New Matilda.

With the exception of ABC Unleashed and New Matilda, large scale general interest sites aggregating comment and opinion have been a late arrival in Australia.

However, the last quarter has seen Crikey – best known as a daily subscription email newsletter – relaunch its own website as a comment and opinion aggregator; the start of The Punch, and the announcement that Fairfax plans to launch the National Times.

Alexa is useful for a general impression of surfing habits only, because its is based on a relatively small number of users who instal its toolbar. It also searches by domain only, so for instance the audience for ABC Unleashed as opposed to cannot easily be viewed.

But what the figures do show is that since it launched on June 1, The Punch – edited by former Daily Telegraph editor David Penberthy – appears to have seen the biggest interest on the day it launched, when its audience was similar to Crikey’s and immediately moved ahead of five-year-old New Matilda.

Since then, Crikey has stayed consistently on top, with both sites showing a surge late last week coinciding with the death of Michael Jackson.

Globally, the best known comment and debate aggregation sites include The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast in the US and The Guardian’s Comment is Free site based in the UK. US-focused The Inquisitr, headed by the Aussie Duncan Riley, is also making inroads.

Update: Ben Shepherd, digitsal director of media agency Maxus has been crunching his own numbers using the more detailed Nielsen data. He reveals:

The Punch is getting around 9,500 people a day.

This month (to 27/6/09) they have a total of 187,192 users. These users have viewed on average around 3.15 pages each.

Average session duration is 3 minutes, 59 seconds. A user returns on average .6 times.

So lets look at the important bits

– Daily traffic. Not great
– Page views. Flat. By my math they’re generating around 30,000 page views a day which probably equates to around $500-$800 a day in ad revenue at a reasonable sell through.
– Engagement. Shaky start. Most users aren’t returning. Time spent is under 4 minutes and pages viewed per person is around 3 which suggests users are barely scratching the surface when it comes to reading the content.

He explores the issues behind this more fully on his blog.


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