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August 20, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 8:14am

Comscore: Sun online reaches biggest ever UK monthly audience

By Charlotte Tobitt

The Sun has reached its biggest ever online audience with 33.9m unique visitors in July, according to new Comscore figures.

The newsbrand grew 7.4 per cent year-on-year to remain the UK’s biggest commercial news website after overtaking Mail Online in April last year, although the Mail claims UK traffic is less than half of its global total.

The Sun is the only online newsbrand to have grown month-on-month in July, figures show, with the Metro holding even.

Sun digital editor Keith Poole said: “Month after month the Sun Online continues to shine.

“These record breaking results are a testament to our focus on delivering the biggest scoops, from showbiz to football to real-life stories.”

The Sun has grown its online reach since removing its paywall in November 2015 to go free.

The figures for Sun Online include News UK’s Wireless brands Talkradio, Talksport and Virgin Radio, the Sun’s Scottish and Irish websites, and the Sun’s associated brands such as Sun Savers, Sun Bingo and Dream Team.

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Sun.co.uk alone reached 33m unique visitors in July, up 8.1 per cent year-on-year.

Figures shared by the Mail show dailymail.co.uk outperformed its rival national news websites for engagement, coming top for total views, total visits, average views per visit and average minutes spent per visit.

Reach said Mirror Online had not quite topped its record-breaking June but still held “firmly” onto its newly-won position as the UK’s second-biggest newspaper website in July behind the Sun.

Mirror Online editorial director Ben Rankin said: “The Mirror has had a phenomenal summer and we’re confident that the strategic changes we’ve made this year will continue to bear fruit.

“We’re only getting better and faster on the content that readers love us for – breaking news, showbiz and sport – and we’re growing our team to match these ambitions.

“If the Sun isn’t already feeling us nipping at their heels, they should be.”

A Mail Online spokesperson said: “2010 called and they’d like their metric back. In a digital landscape dominated by the efficiencies of programmatic advertising, a site’s number of monthly unique visitors is more meaningless than ever as a measure of success.

“What matters from a revenue perspective is the level of daily engagement a title has with its readers and ultimately the number of pages they consume.

“And on that score, by any metric you care to mention, Mail Online massively outscores all of its UK rivals, including The Sun and its random selection of associated sites (including Talksrport radio, Sun Bingo, dreamteamfc.com, Virgin Radio and ukholidaysinthesun.co.uk.) which seems to get more promiscuous every year.

“Even so, thanks to the fact that almost 60 per cent of Mail Online daily UK visitors enter by our home page or app directly, the Mail Online has twice as many monthly views, two and half times as many views per visitor, 50 per cent more total minutes per visit and twice as many minutes per visitor (full breakdown attached).

“Our UK traffic is also less than half our global total figure. That is why we were able to report at our last half yearly results 13 per cent like-for-like annual revenue growth and why Mail Online is now solidly profitable as a standalone business, while the Sun combined digital and print operation continues to haemorrhage tens of millions in losses and is reportedly planning to lay off swathes of staff.”

Sun staff have been invited to apply for voluntary redundancy after publisher News Group Newspapers more than tripled its pre-tax losses last year to £91.2m, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

UK news website traffic for July 2019 (Comscore, via The Sun):

Title Total monthly unique visitors % change month-on-month % change year-on-year
Sun Online 33.87 2.4% 7.4%
Sun.co.uk 33.04 1.4% 8.1%
Mail Online and Metro 29.42 -3.0% 0.9%
ESI Media (Evening Standard and Independent) 26.34 -2.7% -2.3%
Mirror Online 25.13 -1.4% 17.5%
Guardian 23.10 -2.6% -4.9%
Express 22.08 -8.7% 51.7%
Dailymail.co.uk 20.24 -6.9% -18.6%
Telegraph 20.02 -1.5% -10.1%
Metro 19.66 0.1% 60.0%
Daily Star 7.10 -6.4% 27.9%
Times 5.57 -0.8% 13.8%
New York Times 4.17 -13.9% -13.6%

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