In the month of July, the ABC was Australia’s most visited news website, according to the Nielson digital ratings released over the weekend.

The milestone comes during a period during which all major news recorded significant traffic increases, a boost put down to the federal election. But the ABC got the biggest bumps of all — audiences seemingly flocked to its authoritative reporting of the federal election, with its election night broadcast also the most popular on television.

In June, the ABC bumped the long-time second-ranked smh.com.au into third place, and in July, it was significantly more popular than news.com.au, which grew its audience in July by 14.37%, compared to the ABC’s 30.02%.

Director of news Gaven Morris said in a statement that the public broadcaster’s online and mobile audiences “are as important to ABC News as our television viewers and radio listeners, and it’s gratifying to see they value the services we provide”.

“Australians have a huge appetite for high-quality news and current affairs, as well as for the in-depth analysis that makes sense of events and provides context. Their desire for independent, trusted journalism is just as great on digital platforms as on broadcast platforms.

“We’re exploring ideas for how we will continue to improve our digital coverage and services.”

The ABC’s popularity online, which has been increasing for some time, bodes poorly for commercial operators keen to monetise digital audiences.

Peter Fray

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