MailOnline overtakes Huffington Post to become world's no 2

Associated's MailOnline has overtaken the Huffington Post to become the world's second largest 'newspaper' site, as defined by ComScore.

MailOnline overtakes Huffington Post to become world's no 2
MailOnline overtakes Huffington Post to become world's no 2

 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.

ComScore Media/Measures Dec-2010 Jan-2011 Feb-2011 Mar-2011
        Total Internet : Total Audience  1,323,535 1,333,403 1,339,496 1,350,539
        Newspapers 486,768 514,547 502,669 556,764
1       The New York Times Brand 44,793 48,509 43,991 61,964
2       Mail Online 34,384 34,439 31,210 39,635
3       Huffington Post 31,538 35,313 32,046 38,429
4       Tribune Newspapers 29,120 29,849 28,529 34,624
5       GUARDIAN.CO.UK 26,589 26,521 25,295 30,891
6       USATODAY Sites 21,369 21,521 23,512 27,065
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
9       WASHINGTONPOST.COM       21,801
10       Advance Internet 17,783 19,750 18,551 20,279

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