2009 Online News Traffic Has Barely Grown At All

Online newspapers’ dirty little secret? The big traffic growth may be tailing off

August unique users to the seven sites that file monthly ABCe stats came in at 139.8 million – 4.3 percent down from July, and 7.1 percent below June’s record high of 150.59 million.

That’s still 54 percent more readers than in February 2008, but – as our chart shows – save for June’s blip, news site traffic has been largely at a standstill since the New Year.

Mail Online, Guardian.co.uk, Telegraph.co.uk, Sun Online, Times Online, Mirror Group and Independent.co.uk all posted lower traffic in August than July. Together, they only have 469,517 more users now than they did in January.

We’d call it a summertime lull, but ABCes didn’t show the same pattern last year. Perhaps a traffic standstill is coming with the plateauing of broadband take-up?

Let’s see if more eyeballs can be attracted during the autumn and winter months, before some sites start sacrificing hits to go behind the pay wall…