Digital audiences climb as consumers search for virus information

• News.com.au editor-in-chief Kate de Brito spoke to Mediaweek

On Tuesday Mediaweek reported the surge in viewing audiences for news and current affair TV shows on Monday night. The response has moved some broadcasters to increase their coverage of the spread of COVID-19. Both Nine and Seven are now programming a one-hour late night news bulletin to focus on the latest developments.

Following our update on Seven News with news boss Craig McPherson on Monday, 7NEWS.com.au has continued to experience audience growth with last Sunday its highest day ever with 2.2m Australian users, the first day across 2m for the news brand launched almost 12 months ago. It almost crossed the 2m barrier on the preceding days too – 1.9m on Friday and then 1.8m on Saturday. [Source: Seven internal data]

Meanwhile over the past seven days news.com.au has had a daily average audience of 1.9 million, according to Nielsen DCR data. Thursday 12 March and Friday 13 March were the most active days with a unique audience of more than 2.1 million on both days.

To-date, news.com.au’s coronavirus coverage has generated over double the number of page views the site’s bushfire coverage generated over summer from just over 1,200 articles published since the virus came to light around 70 days ago.

News.com.au editor-in-chief Kate de Brito told Mediaweek: “We’ve seen a huge surge in readership around the coronavirus starting last month and leading to record audience numbers over the past week. We are running at least two live blogs every day which are being updated throughout the day and evening plus multiple stories about the virus and its impact on Australia and the world. The massive increase in audience numbers comes from search, social, app and direct traffic to our homepage and shows how important this issue is to Australians and how urgently they are seeking credible and up-to-date information on health issues and around closures, shutdowns and shortages.”

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Top photo: News.com.au editor-in-chief Kate de Brito

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