A new study into the news media habits of Australians has found that 78 per cent of the population (15.7 million Australians aged 14-plus) access news or newspaper websites in an average four weeks.
According to Roy Morgan’s Single Source survey, Australia’s most popular news website is News.com.au which is visited by nearly 5.9 million Australians in an average four week period, ahead of the Smh.com.au on 5.3 million visitors and ABC News website on just over 5 million visitors.
Analysing these results on a gender basis shows marginally more women visit news websites in an average four weeks (7.9 million) than men (7.8 million). And the top two news websites are reversed in order with the top news website for women being News.com.au and top for men is Smh.com.au.
Australia’s Top 20 News websites – visitation in an average
four weeks over 12 months to March 2018
Of Australia’s twenty leading news websites nearly half of them (nine), are direct extensions of leading Australian newspaper mastheads led by the Sydney Morning Herald, The Daily Telegraph on 3.4 million visitors, The Age on 3.4 million and the Herald Sun on nearly 2.9 million.
A further seven of the leading websites are primarily internet channels led by News.com.au which is followed by The Daily Mail with over 3.9 million visitors. It should be noted that although The Daily Mail is internet-only in Australia the website is produced by a leading UK newspaper masthead.
Other prominent primarily Internet-driven news websites are MSN with over 3.1 million visitors and another UK based newspaper masthead The Guardian with over 3 million.
The remaining four leading news websites are closely related to long-running existing TV channels and radio stations led by ABC News in third overall and the UK-based BBC with 2.9 million visitors.
Generation Z stands out with preference for Daily Mail and Buzzfeed
Analysing the news website preferences of different generations shows significant variations. Only two of the top five news websites for Pre-Boomers born before 1946 also show up in the top five news websites for Generation Z born between 1991-2005.
Leading news website News.com.au is the top online source for news for Pre-Boomers (20.9 per cent of whom visit News.com.au in an average four weeks), Generation X (34.2 per cent) and Generation Y (35.9 per cent).
The SMH is the leading news website for Baby Boomers (27.3 per cent) just ahead of the 27per cent who visit News.com.au. The SMH is the only news website to appear in the top three news websites for every generation.
Generation Z has different tastes in news with the Daily Mail visited by 24.6 per cent of the youngest generation taking out top spot ahead of BuzzFeed which is visited by 23.3 per cent. BuzzFeed only just makes the top 10 news websites for Generation Y with 14.8 per cent visiting and doesn’t feature as a leading website for any of the older generations.
9News.com.au is a favourite for older generations coming in as the number five most visited news website for Pre-Boomers on 13.3 per cent and ninth for Baby Boomers on 15.8 per cent.
Australia’s Top News websites by Generation – 12 months to March 2018
Commenting on the study, Roy Morgan CEO, Michele Levine, said: “Nearly 15.7 million Australians now access news or newspaper websites in an average four weeks – nearly as many as read traditional newspapers either in print or online in an average seven days and more than read traditional print newspapers in an average week.
“The four most popular news websites each have unique characteristics led by news.com.au which has nearly 5.9 million visitors in an average four weeks and is part of Australia’s largest media company News Corp Australia.
“Australia’s most read newspaper masthead the Sydney Morning Herald is the next most visited news website with 5.3 million visitors ahead of the government owned ABC News website with just over 5 million visitors. The Daily Mail, a UK based website with unique Australian content and dominated by celebrity gossip, is Australia’s fourth most visited news website with over 3.9 million visitors.
“There are six News Corp owned websites in the top twenty most visited news websites and overall more than 11.1 million Australians visit a News Corp news website compared to the nearly 9 million that visit a Fairfax owned news website. Both traditional media outlets are turned to for news far more often than Google News which ranks just outside the top 20 news websites with 983,000 visitors.
“Analysis of the news website habits of different generations shows that some news websites have broad appeal across generations whilst some news websites are definitely more popular amongst those of a certain age.
“The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) is in the top three news websites for all five generations and news.com.au is in the top four news websites across each generation.
“In contrast 9News.com.au and msn feature amongst the top news websites only for older generations whilst BuzzFeed is more skewed towards younger generations. BuzzFeed is the second most popular news website for Generation Z and tenth most popular for Generation Y.”