Europeans and newspaper websites

I thought the internet was supposed to kill the newspaper, but the public’s desire for a newspaper service – albeit a digital one – is still going strong, judging by statistics that caught my eye recently.

That’s not, of course, the same as saying things are easy for individual newspapers – if that were the case there would be no need for Newspaper Death Watch – and even some supposedly progressive online-only models are faltering.

Nonetheless, it’s striking that nearly half of Europe’s 380 million internet users visited a newspaper website in November 2011, according to online analysts ComScore.

The most popular site was for UK newspaper the Daily Mail, whose highly-targeted “cheep commodity content” gives it its own very particular slant on the idea of an online newspaper service.

Top Newspaper Sites in Europe by Total Unique Visitors (000)
November 2011
Total European Audience, Age 15+, Home and Work Locations
Source: comScore Media Metrix
Total Unique Visitors (000)
Total Internet : Total Audience 379,402
News/Information – Newspapers 181,529
Mail Online 20,068
Guardian.co.uk 15,705
Hurriyet.com.tr 10,429
Bild.de 9,663
Milliyet.com.tr 9,628
ElPais.com 8,472
Elmundo.es Sites 7,849
KP.ru (Komsomolskaya Pravda) 7,233
Telegraph Media Group 6,877
RIA.ru (RIA Novosti) 6,182

Another detail in the ComScore research was the part Facebook plays in driving traffic to newspaper websites, with at least 10% of visits preceded by one to the social network.

The figures, which include both direct referrals from Facebook links as well as visits “initiated by direct user navigation” after a visit to Facebook, could be clearer.

But they’re strong enough for ComScore to conclude they highlight “Facebook’s growing prominence in the European web landscape and its increasing ability to drive referral traffic”.

Facebook and newspaper websites

Click here to view a larger version of the graph

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