Ara.cat sets new all-time readership record for online Catalan language newspapers

In September ARA’s online newspaper had over 3.2M unique visitors on the back of the political hubbub in Catalonia

September brought the highest readership numbers ever for Ara.cat since the online newspaper was first launched seven years ago. This newspaper’s online edition had 3,234,240 unique visitors last month, making it the most popular online newspaper written in Catalan. In fact, this figure sets a new all-time readership record for online news outlets in this language, according to OJD Interactiva. September’s figures show that Ara.cat pushed past Nació Digital, which dropped to second place with 2,994,011 unique visitors. The third slot was for VilaWeb, with 2,780,143 visitors, followed by Catalunya Diari (2,350,822) and RAC1’s online portal, with 1,908,920 unique visitors last month.

Ara.cat’s 3.2M visitors in September adds half a million to the previous record, which dated back to September 2015 when Junts pel Sí won the last parliamentary elections in Catalonia and our online newspaper received 2,728,768 unique visitors. Compared to last August, ARA’s website saw a readership increase of 27.35 per cent, even though August’s 2,539,569 unique visitors was the third highest figure in the history of the newspaper.

Furthermore, last month Ara.cat also smashed its own record number of visits, with a total of 11,667,185 and an average stay of 6 minutes and 26 seconds. For the first time in the history of the newspaper, the figure has surpassed the ten million mark. As for the total number of pages served in September, the figure stood at 23,636,573

Intense weeks

Obviously, unfolding events in Catalonia’s independence process have been instrumental to achieving these historic figures, as the last few weeks have seen many newsworthy moments. For instance, Wednesday September 20 saw the greatest buzz on Ara.cat, precisely on the day when Spanish police launched an operation against the officials responsible for organising the independence referendum on October 1, which led to street protests in Barcelona and other Catalan cities. On that day alone, Ara.cat had 443,411 unique visitors, 695,981 visits and it served 1,604,443 pages. From then on, the daily number of unique visitors levelled off, hovering over 300,000 until the end of the month.

Ara.cat’s remarkable readership figures remained steady through the first ten days of October. Between October 1 and 10 —a time of hugely significant political events, such as the referendum on independence, the general stoppage, rallies for dialogue, Barcelona’s unionist march and the parliamentary session when Carles Puigdemont announced that independence would be put on hold— Ara.cat had 2,565,037 unique visitors. This is a 169 per cent rise, year on year.

Over 40,000 subscribers

September’s record figures for ARA’s online edition were matched by the number of subscribers, which now exceeds 40,000 (42,146 to be precise, as of last Friday, which includes print and online subscribers). September alone saw a net increase of 1,300 subscriptions.

With regard to our print readership, August is the last month for which OJD —the readership monitoring body— has provided any figures, which show that ARA was the newspaper that performed the best in terms of individual sales in newsstands, with a 9.5 per cent increase year on year. In contrast, all other print newspapers in Catalonia saw a decline in August, with the only exception of El Punt Avui, which grew by 2.5 per cent. Furthermore, ARA’s 9,516 copies sold daily beat El País (8,655), making it the third best-selling newspaper in Catalonia’s kiosks. ARA’s total print readership in August —including subscriptions and other distribution channels— stood at 14,789 copies every day, a 12 per cent increase over last year.

As for September, while OJD has not issued any figures yet, ARA’s daily average number of print copies sold at newsstands shot up to 11,399, which is a 28,8 per cent hike year on year and the total daily readership hovered above 14,000 copies, a 1.9 per cent rise over 2016. This positive trend comes in a generally negative context, given that the readership of Catalan newspapers was down 9.1 points on average until last August.

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