Why UK Newspapers Miss The Beijing Bump

A brief glance at the graph below shows alarming commonality among the performance of UK newspapers online – decline.

The people at Journalism.co.uk collate the Audit Bureau of Circulation’s monthly ABCe traffic data to offer this useful trend line.



One plausible explanation is that audiences always fall during August when much of the country disappears on holiday at some point in the month. It manifests itself in a number of ways in print – trade publications often drop an issue or two while hard news gives way to the silly season inside the nationals.

But I’m not sure the silly season effect has ever been fully proven online. Anecdotally, all the web titles I’ve been involved in have seen traffic hold up well over the summer.

Unfortunately, a direct comparison with 2008 doesn’t shed much light.

Thirteen months ago most digital papers were enjoying a Beijing bump. The Olympic Games – coupled with a war in Georgia that made the season anything but silly – were at the heart of some pretty impressive month-to-month increases.

Most notable were the Guardian (unique users up 12%) and the Telegraph (up 18% and through the 20 million barrier for the first time). Intriguingly, the Mail Online – the clear king of the web in 2009 – suffered a 7% decline.

No such worry a year on, especially with headlines like this.

One thought on “Why UK Newspapers Miss The Beijing Bump”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s