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June 19, 2013updated 20 Jun 2013 8:37pm

People’s Nigella splash breaks online record after story viewed more than 20 million times

By Gavriel Hollander

Last weekend’s Sunday People splash showing Nigella Lawson apparently being attacked by husband Charles Saatchi has been viewed 20 million times, according to a well-placed source at the paper.

The story is already the most popular article ever published on MirrorOnline.

A Trinity Mirror spokesperson declined to reveal the precise amount of traffic generated by the picture-led exclusive.

However, he said the story had “significantly outperformed even the traffic generated by our exclusive look inside North Korea”.

According to the latest ABC figures, an average of 1.2 million unique users per day visited all Trinity Mirror websites in April.

This Sunday’s edition was the first since former Sunday Express editor Sue Douglas took over control of the People as head of a new Trinity Mirror Sunday Brands subsidiary. James Scott remains editor.

Press Gazette understands that picture editor Mark Moylan brought the story in.

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The Sunday People does not yet have a stand-alone website, but Douglas has plans to turn the paper into a seven-day digital operation. Trinity Mirror chief executive Simon Fox would not be drawn on whether this would involve the launch of a stand-alone site during in an interview with Press Gazette earlier this month.

The Trinity Mirror spokesman added: “This success is particularly gratifying as it proves our ongoing integration of Trinity Mirror's on and offline media is working, allowing us to break exclusives and create distinctive content that enriches both our digital and print brands without compromising the readerships of either.

"Our aim is to make MirrorOnline a destination for live coverage of breaking news and sporting events for our readers, and the go-to site for UK celebrity news, pictures and exclusives.”

The story was widely followed up this week throughout print and broadcast media. Saatchi has accepted a police caution for assault.

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