Fairfax Regional websites hit audience record

Bendigo Advertiser’s coverage of The Junction Hotel fire at Ravenswood drew a huge audience in June. Photo: Peter Weaving. Fairfax Regional Mediahas set another record with more than 48 million page views ​in Juneacross its network of websites, up from 20 million per month a year ago.

​Editorial director Stuart Howie said the network was on the precipice of hitting 50 million​ page views and he was targeting 100 million under the regional division’s signature editorial project “NewsNow”.

“This represents one of the best growth stories in media in this country,”​Howiesaid.

“Our editorial staff across Australia are committed to driving content across platform​s. And our communities are loving it -they have an insatiable appetite for local news and information from our trusted brands.

​”Our audiences have never been bigger or stronger.”

​Fairfax Regional comprises 15 daily newspapers and more than 150 non-daily titles. Most of these have associated website​s​, mobile sites, Facebook pages and a presence across other social media platforms.

​Mobile and social media represent the biggest​growthin the way readers are accessing information.

The number of visits to the regional network from mobile Facebook has tripled over the past 12 months to almost 20 per cent of its audience.

​The network recorded 4.6 million unique browsers for the month.​

​The standout success has been the Bendigo Advertiser, the inaugural NewsNow site, which recordeda massive 4.5 million page views for the month and is the network’s second most popular site behind the Newcastle Herald.

NewsNow ​amounts to a total newsroom makeover, putting traditionally run print operations on a digital​-first, seven-day-a-week footing.

​”Reverse publishing” technology allows reporters to simultaneously publish to the web and to templated print pages. The Advertiser newspaper was relaunched to much acclaim and page views to the website have increased from 1.2 million per month before the NewsNow launch in September 2013 to 4.5 million page views — a 275 per cent increase.

A core objective of NewsNow is to focus as much resource in a newsroom on news gathering and disseminating content across every channel possible.

The project will now roll out across Australia, delivering a huge amount of extra content to Fairfax Regional’s digital audiences.

“No other media organisation has such a commitment to Australian communities, large and small,” Howie said.

“We have more than 700 journalists based in 100 newsrooms around Australia. That reach is important to public life and a wonderful opportunity for advertisers.”

Newsrooms include those in Mandurah, Bunbury and Busselton in Western Australian, Burnie and Launceston in Tasmania, Port Lincoln, Whyalla and Kangaroo Island in South Australia, Ballarat, Warrnambool and Horsham in Victoria, and Dubbo, Cowra, Wagga Wagga and Port Macquarie in NSW.​

​One of the other great success stories in the latest results was TheCentral Western Daily in Orange, NSW,​ whichhas shot up in popularity​​ to becomethe network’s fifth most popular website, with 2.6 million page views in June.

​*Fairfax Regional Media is publisher of this website.

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