British News Sites Get Third Of Readers From U.S.; Motivation For Crossing Atlantic

It’s old data, but this new research study from City University, London, online journalism researcher Neil Thurman is the first to illustrate why British news organizations are courting U.S. readers. We recently reported The Guardian is launching dedicated American news and comment websites, Times Online is using search engine optimization to reach Americans, while The Independent and Daily Mail get more visits from across the Atlantic than from at home. Combining stats and interviews circa 2005, Thurman shows why the publishers decided to monetize across the Atlantic:

Some 36 percent of traffic to U.K. news sites comes from the U.S.

— Americans may visit U.K. news sites in large numbers, but they don’t do much when they get there – while domestic at international users view an average 12 pages per month at British news sites, Americans see just four.

— While BBC News, Guardian Unlimited and The Times receive the most US users, proportionately has far more American readers than rivals (73 percent against second-place on 42 percent) because it has comparatively so few domestic users overall.

— Thank Drudge. Amongst a clutch of “unlikely dependencies”, The Drudge Report is the biggest single referrer of U.S. traffic to U.K. news sites at 25 percent, with Fark coming second at three percent. In fact, Drudge refers more than three times as many people to U.K. news sites as Google does, the study claims, and also more than Google News and Yahoo News.

— Liberally-slanted stories covering U.S. politics do well at U.K. sites, underpinning what Guardian Unlimited has frequently said about a dearth of “liberal opinion” in the States. In this respect, Guardian and do well.

— While most U.K. newspapers were keen on monetizing these U.S. readers, Associated New Media’s editorial director Avril Williams responded: