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Local Media Websites See Strong Traffic Growth

Traffic across local media websites increased by an average of 14 per cent year-on year, according to the latest ABC results, with Newsquest pointing to increased access through smartphones.

In the latest audit period  July to December 2011, Iliffe, Johnston Press, KM Group, Midland News Association, Newsquest, Northcliffe Media and Trinity Mirror all experienced strong growth in average monthly unique users compared to the same period in 2010.

In a press release announcing its results, Newsquest revealed that a monthly average of 8,306,468 unique visitors accessed its network of 158 local media websites July to December 2011 – a year-on-year growth of 12 per cent

During the second half of 2011 the publisher’s website visitors increasingly turned to smart phones and tablets. Visits on these devices increased from 13 per cent in July 2011 to 19 per cent  in December.

Roger Green, digital media managing director for Newsquest, said: “In December we launched a new version of our mobile site network to meet the growing appetite of smart phone users for up-to-the-minute news and local travel information.”

“Users who access our content on the move are increasingly making repeat visits to our sites helping us to grow our page views by more than 31 million during the audit period.”

Commenting on Trinity Mirror's figures David Higgerson, Trinity Mirror Regionals' Digital Publishing Director, said: "We have an impressive overall network audience of over 9 million monthly unique users with the majority of our principle news sites having shown strong growth - for instance the MEN is up by 27 per cent, Wales Online by 32 per cent and Birmingham Mail by 27 per cent. This growth has been driven by good content development as well as more effective SEO and social media development.

"During the riots which engulfed Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and the areas served by our titles in West London, we saw unprecedented levels of traffic as people sought out information from brands they know and trust. 

"Our news teams are always encouraged to try new tools which aid storytelling, and this experimentation enabled us to keep people up to date with the latest information in an engaging, informative way, making use of tools such as Storify and the latest improvements from Coveritlive.

"Our Manchester newsroom has led the way with our 'always expect a video' approach which now means shooting video on smartphone is second nature to reporters. This instinctive 'grab video' approach ensured that the MEN site had some of the most compelling footage of the riots.

"In sport, nobody covers our local football teams as well as we do, and the additional content being created online is helping drive bigger audiences, but crucially, more engaged audiences. Several centres produce 'appointment to view' video shows with sports writers each week, providing essential insights which fans can't get anywhere else.

"Our use of surveys, live web chats and direct interaction on social media - primarily Twitter, Facebook and Flickr - helps to make sure that readers know that we're not just here to tell them what's happening, but that we want to know what's going in their lives, and what they think about the content we're producing and reporting on." 

The NS is the voice of Britain’s local media, the UK’s most trusted medium. It represents 1,100 newspapers, 1,700 websites and other print, digital and broadcast channels.