Mail Online soft launches Australian content as Nielsen rankings remain stable

Mail onlineThe Mail Online has switched its website to largely Australian content, in what appears to be a full launch for one of the newest entrants in the Australian online news space. 

In recent days the Australian editorial of the Mail Online, which now numbers close to 50 staff, has taken over the homepage of the website for Australian users with a mix of local celebrity, gossip and even political stories with a strong tabloid angle. Tabs on the homepage now offer uses the US and UK versions of the site.

Mi9, which is a 50 per cent partner in the joint venture, declined to comment on the move, saying it does not provide a “running commentary” on changes to the news site, but its comes as Nielsen numbers show the site has retained its sixth place ranking.

Nielsen’s latest numbers show that while the top six rankings stayed the same, like the smaller online publishers Australia’s big news websites took a hit in traffic, due in part to the proximity of the Easter and Anzac Day long weekends.

NielsenThe latest numbers show News Corp’s retaining top spot with an audience of 3.67m, while following closely behind is the with an audience of 3.608m.

Ninemsn is in a distant third with 3.1m but its traffic numbers are expected to fall off in the coming months at the conclusion of its deal with Microsoft, in the wake of last year’s buyout, which sees it pick up referrals from sites like Hotmail’s log out page.

Its sister site the Mail Online grew its online audience in April to a record 2.177m from 2.077m last month, while The Guardian also posted a record audience result of 1.765m and its ninth place on the rankings.

The Herald Sun was the only one of News Corp’s traditional newspaper sites to make the top ten with an audience of 2.031m, while The Daily Telegraph and Courier Mail both found themselves just out of the rankings with online audiences of 1.506m and 1.511m respectively.

The Australian had an audience 1.2m while university funded news and commentary website The Conversation had its debut on the Nielsen rankings with an audience of 309,000 in April.

Speaking to these latest numbers, Monique Perry, head of Nielsen’s media industry group said that these results were as expected.

She said: “March was a big month for online news as consumers sought breaking updates about MH370, and other notable international stories attracted incremental audiences to the category.

“We expected April to not only normalise for the news category, but to experience slight declines off-the-back of last month, as a large proportion of the population took extended holidays over this period.”

Nielsen results revealed travel and gaming sites recorded a boost during April, reflecting the school holiday and public holiday period – especially Virgin Travel Australia which was up 37 per cent, and big online gaming sites such as GameSpot Network up 15 per cent, IGN Gaming Websites up 19 per cent and EA -Electronic Arts Online up 44 per cent.

Nic Christensen 


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