South Africans flood to Net for news

2008-09-29 11:47

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September 26, 2008 - The evening news is too long to wait for breaking news. This according to the website News24, that during the day on September 23, 2008, recorded more than 314 000 unique browsers and nearly 2 100 000 page impressions, as measured by Nielsens NetRatings.

The news that Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and 14 other cabinet members had resigned saw a massive influx of visitors to News24 and other local internet news sites. The huge increase in readers on News24 set a local one-day record for the site that ordinarily welcomes more than 220 000 unique browsers daily.

All of South Africa's news websites struggled to handle the heavy load of traffic on what was probably the major local breaking news event of the last 10 years.

"We live in an on-demand world and South Africans - particularly those with internet access at work - see the Web as an essential place to immediately access information and up-to-date news that is relevant to them," said Jannie Momberg, editor of News24, South Africa's leading digital source for news.

Wildfire networks

"It is important to see the trend developing," says Geoff Cohen GM: News24. "More South Africans are relying on the Web as their primary source for news and information - bypassing the so-called traditional mediums of print and radio."

According to Cohen, the immediacy of the internet, coupled with the rapid dissemination and resultant discussion of news, current events and opinions can spread like wildfire among individuals' own social networks, both online and offline.

"Try to imagine 25 percent more vehicles suddenly on the highway in one day," added Momberg.

"On average, visitors spend about 6:16 minutes on the site, but on Tuesday they spent 7:19 minutes on News24. It's a compelling example of how South Africans increasingly want breaking news and information at their fingertips, either on a mobile phone or on their computer."

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