BBC.com is outstripping local news sites in the battle for South Africa’s eyeballs. The only two sites that surpassed BBC.com’s final tally of 507 310 unique users were News24.com and the news section on iol.co.za.
According to the latest figures released by the DMMA’s official measurement sub-contractor, Effective Measure, in July 2012, BBC.com attracted over half a million unique South African users, making it the third most popular news site in that month – outranking the likes of timeslive.co.za (475 105 unique users), sowetanlive.co.za (464 382), mg.co.za (458 228), fin24.co.za (423 505) and businessday.co.za (192 448).
This figure represents a 32% year-on-year growth, and places BBC.com as the 12th most visited site overall in South Africa.
“Surpassing the 500 000 unique user benchmark is a significant achievement for any site, but especially so for a non-local news site because it demonstrates an unusually high level of trust in the brand and its ability to not only provide credible, reliable and unbiased international news, but also bring this same professional approach to bear on local stories,” says Habari Media MD, Wayne Bischoff. Habari Media represents BBC.com in South Africa
“These figures indicate that South Africans are increasingly looking to BBC.com as an alternative local news portal,” he says.
The site has continued to grow and develop at a rapid rate, keeping pace with consumer needs and technology advancements through the likes of BBC.com/mobi. In an average week, BBC news sites and apps are visited by around 9.7-million users worldwide, representing about 26% of the total user base.
“Since the inception of Habari’s relationship with BBC, we have seen significant growth through user numbers and engagement with the audience,” says Bischoff. “This can be directly attributed to the BBC’s commitment to continually improving the product offering, and further driving the relevancy of the platform by creating stand-out elements like the Olympic Games coverage.”
According to Effective Measure, the three most visited sections during the July period were news, sport and business, with the Olympics offering attracting over 20 000 users and 80 000 impressions at the height of the games.
Although the Games can be accredited with helping drive the numbers upwards, Bischoff believes that the gains will be retained – and figures to date for August 2012 support this belief.
BBC.com’s Isla McLeod concurs, adding that, “BBC.com remains a destination site with over 50% of South African users either typing or bookmarking the site, and with rapidly growing numbers of people accessing BBC News via mobiles and tablets”.