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September 11, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 8:19am

Sun and Mirror top latest Pamco readership figures but Mail fights back on ‘metrics that really count’

By Charlotte Tobitt

The Sun is the most read UK national newsbrand across print and online with the Mirror moving into second place for the first time, according to the latest Pamco figures.

Although the Mail has dropped from the top of the UK audience list in the last quarter’s figures, Mail Online’s global traffic was up year-on-year in August due to growth in the US – while the publisher said it valued engagement metrics more.

Martin Clarke, publisher at DMG Media which publishes the Mail brands, said: “We wouldn’t swap our metric results with those of the Sun and the Mirror in a million years.”

Pamco replaced the UK National Readership Survey last year as the industry standard audience measurement for news publishers. Its latest results cover the year from July 2018 to June 2019 and include associated websites.

The Sun had a total monthly UK brand reach of 32.8m across its website and two print titles, up 4.7 per cent year-on-year. The figure includes traffic to the brand’s bingo and fantasy football websites.

Sun editor-in-chief Tony Gallagher said: “These results are testament to the hard work of our staff, who deliver the agenda setting scoops, celebrity exclusives and Westminster-rattling campaigns that set us apart from the competition and make us number one.”

The Sun also continued to be the most read newsbrand both on mobile in the UK, with a monthly reach of 25.6m, and on tablet, on 3.4m.

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Sun Online editor Keith Poole said: “The Sun online goes from strength to strength because of a team that delivers great storytelling across all channels.

“From up-to-the-minute snackable news on Snapchat to showbiz exclusives that get the nation talking, people flock to The Sun to be surprised, challenged and entertained, and stay for more.”

The Mirror, whose figures include the Daily and Sunday Mirror, Sunday People and Mirror Online, had a UK monthly reach of 27.4m, up from 25.3m in the previous quarter.

Lloyd Embley, editor-in-chief of Mirror publisher Reach, said: “I’m delighted that the Mirror has been able to move into second place in the Pamco ratings.

“Over the past few months print and digital have been working more closely together than ever and I think both platforms are really feeling the benefit of this.

“We’re delivering journalism that packs a punch and it’s brilliant to see the Mirror move into such a powerful position.”

Scroll down for the full Pamco total brand reach figures and additional engagement charts

But, in response to the Pamco figures, Clarke said: “Just looking at monthly reach figures alone is similar to getting 300 likes on your Instagram post but spending Saturday night alone, as you don’t have any real friends to go out with.

“Monthly reach figures are often a combination of multiple different sources such as Apple News, Google Amp and Facebook Instant Articles, which doesn’t translate into brand loyalty or considered engagement, meaning that newsbrands are unable to effectively monetise their platforms.

“Where is the value in unique users digesting your content on faceless news platforms that fail to resonate with your brand?”

Mail Online saw its non-brand search traffic from Google halved in June after an algorithm change, a decline that was “much more pronounced” in the UK than in the US.

Clarke pointed out that “as around 60 per cent of Mail Online’s daily UK visitors come directly to our homepage or app, we consistently outperform all the other newsbrands in the market on the metrics that really count”.

The Mail had twice as many total page views per month than any other UK newsbrand, with the Guardian as its next competitor. It also had two-and-a-half times as many views per visitor, 50 per cent more visits per visitor and twice as many minutes per visitor as any other newsbrand.

The average time spent on Mail Online per monthly UK visitor was 62.3 minutes, with the Times’ average of 40.8 minutes in second place.

Clarke added: “Mail Online’s overall traffic is up year on year for August as the UK is just one of our geographies and US growth has outweighed any loss in the UK.”

The Guardian has the biggest monthly reach on desktop in the UK, at 6.4m.

Pamco UK national newsbrands’ total monthly brand reach July 2018-June 2019 (including June 2019 Comscore data):

Newsbrand (inc. Sunday titles) Total monthly reach (000)
Sun 32823
Mirror 27413
Mail 25278
Express 24816
Metro 24699
Guardian 23931
Independent 22939
Telegraph 21509
Evening Standard 15967
Daily Star 8775
Times 8630
i 6549
Daily Record 5786

UK newsbrand total minutes per month, as per Pamco figures released in September 2019. Picture: DMG Media

UK newsbrand total page views, as per Pamco figures released in September 2019. Picture: DMG Media

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