ComScore data for March today (19 April) highlights how the disruptive news and aggregation site founded by Arianna Huffington six years ago was usurped by MailOnline in the same month it was sold to AOL for $315m.
According to the global market researcher, MailOnline achieved a 27% rise in unique visitors between February and last month, to 39,635,000, while a 20% lift at the Huffington Post took it to 38,429,000.
Despite the strong double-digit growth, both sites were eclipsed by long-time market leader New York Times, where traffic surged 41% to a record 61,964,000 unique users around the world.
The New York Times’ stellar traffic was drawn to the site ahead of it erecting its paywall on 28 March. The large rise can partly be explained by the additional media coverage surrounding the move.
The site is also likely to have benefitted from a strong month of domestic and international news, with much socio-political activity around Washington, the Middle East and Japan.
How long the New York Times will be able to retain its global domination following the introduction of its metered model is open to debate.
Casual users will still be able to access 20 articles a month for free, before being asked to become a ‘digital subscriber’. However, for the first four weeks, access will cost less than $1 (99 cents).
Add to this the fact that detailed and simple methods of circumnavigating the paywall have been readily available on blogs and comment sites almost from the outset, and the possibility of the NYT retaining a large chunk of its readership remains.
But early indications suggest the UK’s MailOnline is set to become the largest English-language newspaper site within the month, with web analytics specialist Hitwise claiming the New York Times' daily readership figures fell between 5% and 15% in the first two weeks of the paywall, and page views dropped by up to 30%.
Meanwhile, with little fanfare, Associated is busy building new editorial operations to feed into the MailOnline from New York, Los Angeles and Washington.
|Total Internet : Total Audience||1,323,535||1,333,403||1,339,496||1,350,539|
|1||The New York Times Brand||44,793||48,509||43,991||61,964|
|7||Wall Street Journal Online||19,410||23,613||19,679||25,323|
|8||Xinhua News Agency||18,472||18,600||17,839||23,197|