Australian news consumers are more likely to read CNN than The Canberra Times, the British Independent than the New Daily, and the Mirror than WAToday.

While the oft-reported top 10 news sites all boast large Australian reporting staffs, go a little further down the list and that’s not the case. A list of 154 news websites tracked by Nielsen shows the extent to which Australians are plugged into the global conversation, turning to foreign news outlets far more readily than those in another state for information and entertainment.

The most-visited foreign news site is the, which is also the 20th most-viewed news website overall, with 1.1 million Australian unique browsers a month spending an average of nine minutes per session. Of the 100 top-rated news websites viewed by Australia, nearly half (41) are based overseas with no significant Australian footprint. The list reflects both the might of media brands and Australia’s cultural heritages. While American news sources dominate, British websites are also popular. New Zealand’s two major news sites — (376k unique browsers) and the (318k unique browsers)– are both in the top 60.

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The list also helps explain the advantages to setting up a local edition in Australia for many international news brands. With large numbers of Australians already flocking to foreign sites, one could, with a small Australian commercial and reporting staff, draw even more. The BBC is the latest to try this technique, having added an Australian editor to its local commercial team in recent months.

The ratings relate to July, and show the Houston Chronicle edge in at number 44 (with 438,000 unique browsers). This is likely related to the Dallas police officer shootings that occured in Texas that month — Australians flocked to the nearest major paper for informed coverage.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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