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News.com.au regains top spot as most read website, Mail Online now in eighth position

NieslenNews Corp Australia’s News.com.au has regained its position at Australia’s most read news website, while new online challenger the Mail Online continues to climb the rankings. 

According to the Nielsen Online Ratings, news.com.au topped the rankings in January with an audience of 2.767m closely followed by Fairfax’s smh.com.au on 2.751m and Mi9’s NineMSN on 2.454m, while its new joint venture partner the Mail Online rose up the rankings to eighth position in January.

News.com.au has had a tumultuous couple of months with the highly-read news website losing its editor Luke McIlveen and a number of key staff to the Mail Online. In the November and December surveys News.com.au came second and third respectively.

General manager of News.com.au Julian Delany said in a statement: “What a great way to start the year. We were consistently the number one news site in 2013 and to regain the top spot is a testament to the exceptional team we have here at News.com.au, they know and understand that our consumers want current and succinct news that helps them get to the facts faster.”

The return of News.com.au to the top of the Nielsen rankings comes only weeks after News Corp named former Age online editor Daniel Sankey as the new editor of News.com.au. It also comes on the same day McIlveen formally takes the Mail Online editor’s chair after a couple of months on gardening leave.

Mail Online publisher Martin Clarke told Mumbrella has was pleased with the website’s January traffic, especially as the website was still ramping up its Australian content.

“This is a very pleasing result considering January was the first month we started publishing Australian specific showbiz stories, said Clarke. “Over the coming months, as we continue to grow our newsroom in Sydney and publish the local stories that matter, we hope Australians will make the Mail Online their first choice for news.”

Industry speculation remains that Mi9, who in November of 2013 announced the Mail Online partnership, will later this year push to have the NineMSN and Mail Online numbers brought together on the Nielsen Rankings guaranteeing them the highly prized top spot.

A spokesman for Mi9 this morning told Mumbrella: “At this stage we have no plans to merge the Mail Online and NineMSN into one group”.

The overall rankings remained relatively stable with Fairfax news website The Age having the longest time spent online with an average of 1 hours, 47 minutes and 59 seconds.

According to Nielsen, other new entrants to Australian market The Guardian and Buzzfeed had Australian audiences of 1.131m and 1.120m respectively, placing them just outside the top ten websites.

Nic Christensen  

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