Cape Town - The South African online publishing industry increased its readership by about 25% to attract a monthly combined local and overseas readership of 4.38 million readers/unique browsers and 111.6 million page impressions, the Online Publishers Association (OPA) said this week.
Media24, which has News24 and Finance24 in its stable, clinched the number 1 spot, with a unique readership of over 1.7 million and almost 27 million page impressions, the latest readership figures (for April 2005) showed.
The figures, which are independently audited by Nielsen//Netratings, showed Independent Online in second place, with page impressions only half that of Media24`s at over 13 million, but its unique readership stood at 1.3 million.
The figures show a 25% increase of about 900 000 readers since they were last released by the OPA in August 2004, about nine months ago.
It was also revealed that out of a sample group of 8 677 people surveyed by Nielsen//Netratings, most users accessed the internet from work (55%), while about 33% of readers accessed the net from home.
Johannesburg stood out as the biggest internet city, followed by Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban.
According to the statistics, South Africa`s online publishers attract a highly educated and big-earning audience, with the largest group of internet users (about 24.7%) holding postgraduate degrees and about 19.4% of users holding bachelor`s degrees.
About 20% of users - by far the largest group in the household-income category - are in the top-earning bracket (total combined annual household income of R400 000 a year or more).
OPA chairperson Russell Hanly said the online publishing industry has good reason to be upbeat about the latest figures.
"Last year saw online advertising emerging as one of South Africa`s fastest growing medium.
"It augurs well for the industry that this growth is clearly matched by extremely strong growth in the number of visitors to OPA member sites.
"The increased volume of page views reflects higher levels of activity and more frequent visits.
"No doubt the quality of OPA member sites has a lot to do with these audience statistics," said Hanly.
The survey also showed that 57.3% of web users are male and 42.6% are female, with the predominant age spanning from 18 and 34.
The OPA represents South Africa`s major online publishing businesses, including 365 Digital Publishing, 5fm, Ananzi, BDFM Publishers, Business in Africa, CareerJunction, CreamerMedia, iafrica.com, Independent Online, ITWeb Limited, JHBLive, Johnnic Communications, Mail & Guardian Online (M&G Media Ltd), Moneymax, M-Web, Media24, Moneyweb Holdings, Ramsay, Son & Parker, SABCnews.com, Supersport Zone, Private Property, Bizcommunity.com.