Foreign Visitors Flock to UK Newspaper Sites

May 14, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Europe & Middle East | Household Income | Media & Entertainment | Newspapers

Great Britain’s tabloid The Sun is the most popular online newspaper among the nearly 16 million people in the UK who visited a newspaper website in March 2009, according to data from comScore World Metrix service, which also reported that many of the UK’s other top online newspapers also draw significant numbers of visitors from outside the country.

Top 10 UK Newspaper Sites: UK Audience Robust

The study, which examined domestic and worldwide visitation to leading UK newspaper sites, found that 15.9 million people in the UK visited a newspaper website. This represents a 43% percent reach of the country’s online population.

In terms of the publications themselves, The Sun Online ranks as the most popular online newspaper in the UK in March, growing 8% vs. a year ago, to 4.6 million visitors. The Sun is also one of the most widely-read English-language newspapers in the world.

comscore-uk-newspapers-online-visitors-comparison-march-2008-2009.jpg ranked second with 4.3 million visitors, followed by (3.9 million visitors), the Mail Online (3.5 million visitors) and the Times Online (3 million visitors). The majority of the top 10 newspaper sites achieved double-digit growth vs. a year ago, including, which grew 75% to rank as the fastest-growing.

UK Newspapers Draw International Audiences

In addition to seeing substantial domestic audiences from within the UK, many newspapers draw the majority of their visitors from outside the country, the study revealed.

Specifically, the Mail Online derived 73% of its worldwide audience from outside the UK, followed by (67%), and (61%). Even city-specific publications, such as attract overseas interest, comScore said. This website of London-focused newspaper the Evening Standard derived 48% of its total traffic from outside of the country.


“Traditional UK newspaper brands have proven to be very popular online, both here in the UK and around the world,” said Mike Read, SVP and Managing Director, comScore Europe. “Whether or not these titles choose to switch to subscription-based models, at the possible expense of audience attrition, remains to be seen. However, we can be certain that the online medium has enabled UK newspapers to attract substantial incremental readership from other countries – audiences that were not nearly as accessible in the days of print-only publications.”

Other findings from the report:

  • Of the 15.9 million UK internet users who visited a newspaper site in March, 72% were from the ABC1 social grade (based on the UK’s NRS social grades) and 63% were under the age of 45.
  • 35% of the total 2.4 million visitors to came from the US. in March, compared with the 33% who accessed the site from within the UK.
  • Of the 48 million mobile phone subscribers in the UK in February, 11.9 million accessed news and information via browser or download.
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