So yeah … how is thepunch.com.au going?


It’s almost the end of June … and the end of the first month of News Digital Media’s thepunch.com.au experiment.

In terms of PR and bluster thepunch.com.au has succeeded. Trade press has been strong and the media community is well aware of the initiative and its intent.

My feeling is this is being positioned as an avenue for opinion that will draw in a more engaged reader. A reader that will spend more time on the site and will come back regularly as strong editorial and a lack of ‘vanilla’ copy will act as a unique draw.

First of all, I must compliment the guys at NDM for adding thepunch to Nielsen Market Intelligence in month 1. Many of its competitors haven’t taken this route, preferring to keep traffic figures private whilst they work out how to massage them to pump up the media buyers.

Unfortunately, the numbers aren’t that great.

The Punch is getting around 9,500 people a day.

This month (to 27/6/09) they have a total of 187,192 users. These users have viewed on average around 3.15 pages each.

Average session duration is 3 minutes, 59 seconds. A user returns on average .6 times.

So lets look at the important bits

– Daily traffic. Not great
– Page views. Flat. By my math they’re generating around 30,000 page views a day which probably equates to around $500-$800 a day in ad revenue at a reasonable sell through.
– Engagement. Shaky start. Most users aren’t returning. Time spent is under 4 minutes and pages viewed per person is around 3 which suggests users are barely scratching the surface when it comes to reading the content.

So what are the main issues probably causing some head scratching over at NDM

1/ Traffic. Given NDM claims an audience close to 10m you would have assumed through cross network linking and promo they could push more than 10k people a day to their very public experiment
2/ Engagement. Something isn’t right here. The content isn’t resonating with the users and the numbers around session duration and pageviews show this. Maybe it’s time to introduce slideshows eh …
3/ Revenue potential. Right now it’s not much … not even $1k a day. One would assume they have bills to pay – editors, journo’s, contributors, designers, coders etc.

Additional edit

I thought it’d be worth having a look at how Crikey has performed in the same period as the two are considered to be in competition.

Crikey is getting around 11,100 people a day.

This month (to 27/6/09) they have a total of 164,898 users. These users have viewed on average around 10.98 pages each.

Average session duration is 6 minutes, 40 seconds. A user returns on average 2.43 times.

I can already see the boasting now – theopunch beats Crikey in month 1 (for unique browsers) … and this is true. The Punch has more users than Crikey.

However in the key metrics and the metrics which indicate user interest and engagement Crikey is belting them.

Still, if thepunch can work out why it’s readers don’t seem to want to stay very long nor read very much they could pass Crikey as Crikey doesn’t have the volume generator that is the News Limited media network.

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10 responses to “So yeah … how is thepunch.com.au going?

  1. I think you may have hit on the main problem in an earlier post, Ben. Perhaps we’ve overestimated the appetite for opinion online.

    Yes, blogging is probably at its heights but the vast majority of the audience has always been for breaking news.

    Perhaps this is good news for journalism – News Ltd may realise it needs to offer richer editorial content, not just cheap opinion, to keep eyeballs on their sites (and eventually get people to pay for them).

    Early days, obviously. But as you say, given the hype of the launch surely they’re disappointing numbers given the resources they have put into it.

  2. Pingback: So yeah … how is thepunch.com.au going? // Talking Digital | importance of ideas...

  3. The low engagement figures highlight that The Punch is not attracting its own direct audience.

    news.com.au readers are clicking on one of that site’s top stories, being “pushed” to The Punch (an environment they’re not particularly interested in) and then returning to news.com.au.

    You can see similarly low engagement levels on most major publisher niche content areas. They have high UB levels, driven by punters clicking through from their parent publication, but very low pages/user and session durations.

  4. Some great analysis, Ben. Always well researched.

    Any stats on their comments per post etc? or anything in that vain?

  5. I think The Punch needs a bit of a chance to find its audience. Crikey’s had a number of years to build its audience. If The Punch can build its user engagement, attract a more dedicated audience, and (like Crikey) initiate a few heavy-hitting news stories, then I think the site will do fine.

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  7. Where do you get 30k pageviews in a day = $500-800?

    I run a silly little website about cars that gets 2-3 times that (pageviews, bupkis $) – I just do it for shits and giggles though as a hobby. Would love to hear more…

  8. Pingback: Do I possess John Edward type powers … The Punch, Crikey and the who gives a f*ck factor « talking digital – Ben Shepherd

  9. Pingback: The Punch in July « talking digital – Ben Shepherd

  10. If you have not already done so it would be interesting to have an update on how the Punch is going. In July the return rate was low and if this has continued then the views of the site should be steadily going down.

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