SMH and News.com.au grow audiences in shifting market

By Nicola Riches | 12 November 2014
The new Sydney Morning Herald compact layout.

The shifting sands of Australia’s online news media have done little to nudge heavyweights The Sydney Morning Herald and News.com.au from retaining a strong hold on their growing audiences.

Nielsen figures released today show that SMH retained the top spot in online news rankings for October 2014 compared to the previous month, while News.com.au recorded the largest uplift in time spent during the same period; all during a time when UK disruptors the Mail, Guardian and BBC take aim in the new market.

Nine News recorded an expected decline in unique audience of 20% as a result of the Microsoft split with Nine which saw the tech giant launch MSN as a standalone operation. Consequently, MSN News moved up the ranks to 17th with a unique audience of 868,000.

The market, which captures a total audience of 9.9million unique users, saw SMH grow its audience by 6% to just over 3.8 million and News.com.au by 5% to 3.7m on the month previous. News.com.au also recorded the largest increase in time spent on the site, notching up an additional 17% which equates to 1 hour, 46 minutes per user per month.

Meanwhile, BBC and The Herald Sun had the strongest growth in unique audience of the Top 10 mastheads for the month, recording an increase of 12% and 11% more people, respectively.

The Guardian moved up the ranks to sixth place, with an 8% increase in unique audience to just over two million. This is the highest ranking for the masthead since its launch in the Australia market in May last year.

Nielsen also confirmed that more than five million Australians streamed current events and global news video content during October. News.com.au has taken the top spot in the news category for video streaming rankings, followed by SMH and Channel Nine News. ABC has the highest time spent streaming events and global news video content.

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