Express and Star

Express and Star sees traffic hike despite paywall

Midland News Association's Express and Star website saw the biggest increase in average monthly traffic for the second half of 2011 across all audited regional newspaper websites, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation.

The latest results for July to December 2011, published today, show the website, which at the time had a paywall in front of some of its content, recorded a 35.6 per cent rise in average monthly traffic compared to the same period in 2010.

A breakdown of the figures shows its best month for traffic in the second half of the year was August, when it recorded 970,296 – the same month that riots broke out in the streets of Birmingham and Wolverhampton, having started in London.

Throughout the entire audited period MNA's Shropshire Star website also had a partial paywall in place, and still saw a 26.5 per cent rise in monthly traffic year-on-year. The sites dropped charging for online content in January, nine months after launch.

Acting head of digital at MNA Will Beavis said: "The editorial team’s superb round the clock coverage of the Midlands riots made the Express & Star an essential destination for online readers but our broader digital strategy has ensured that a compelling product is delivered to the growing audience.
"Online content is enriched with video, picture galleries and other interactive elements to increase repeat visits to and sister title throughout the year."

Looking across the regional publishers' portfolios, the Midland News Association also recorded the biggest increase year-on-year for daily browsers, with a 29.1 per cent rise to 59,640. It also saw the second highest rise for monthly traffic with a 31.1 per cent increase.

Iliffe News and Media recorded the biggest hike in average unique monthly browsers of 32.6 per cent, taking the network to an average of 792,586 unique browsers.

A breakdown of the figures shows that the highest traffic month for the network was November, when it recorded 824,674 unique browsers.

On average the network saw 44,942 daily unique browsers, a 28.8 per cent rise on the same period in 2010.

Iliffe News and Media's digital network, which includes the Cambridge News website, also saw the biggest increase in traffic when compared to the first six months of 2011, with a 14.3 per cent rise in daily traffic and 18.6 per cent increase in average monthly browsers.

Trinity Mirror's regional network stayed top of the list today, with the highest average monthly traffic, recording more than 9 million unique browsers on average. The highest recorded figure for the network was made in August when it reached more than 10 million (10,179,854).

Overall the publishing digital networks together saw a year-on-year increase in monthly traffic of 14.33 per cent, and a rise in daily traffic of 12.55 per cent.

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