When The Huffington Post launched in Canada last Spring and Arianna Huffington came to town, the site was bringing in 1.4 million monthly unique visitors.
Today, it has grown 150% and is bringing in more than 3.9 million uniques per month, according to GM Rashida Jeeva at last week's ArtezInteraction conference. That’s on par with The Globe and Mail, who this week launched a paywall, and boasts they are bringing in just over 3.9 million uniques per month also.
That just goes to show the incredible rise of independent online media in Canada.
But it is actually incredibly difficult to determine The Huffington Post’s actual ranking relative to other popular websites visited by Canadians. That’s because TheHuffingtonPost.com is ranked 55th in Canada, while the TheHuffingtonPost.ca is ranked 174th. And those two rankings do not include Canadian traffic to the United Kingdom, France, Spain, or Italy Huffington Post versions that would push it even higher.
The rankings for other top visited news sites in Canada are MSN.com (12th), MSN.ca (20th), CBC (30th), The Globe and Mail (37th), and BBC Online (44th).
You might be wondering if online media has now taken over traditional media in terms of reach. It is difficult to determine the unique traditional views, but the numbers suggest probably not on an overall basis for Postmedia. 2011 numbers suggest an ownership group of newspapers still reached far more Canadians than online news did.
Postmedia led the way with 10 papers that reached 7.2 million paying Canadians weekly. You have to think that number is much higher, though, given many read the newspaper without paying for it.
The company’s flagship paper, The National Post, does not even make the top 100 in Canada online, despite calls to rise farther online from CEO Paul Godfrey. It currently ranks a paltry 122nd. Still, Postmedia says their network has grown to just over one million unique visitors a month, an increase of 51% year-over-year from September 2011 to September 2012—suggesting the growth of online news is increasingly attainable.
Quebecor is next with 36 papers that reached almost 5.8 million paying Canadians weekly in 2011, followed by Torstar with four papers and a weekly paying reach of over 2.8 million. The Toronto Star is Canada’s most widely circulated newspaper, despite being a local newspaper within Toronto with a maximum circulation of 392,000 on weekends. It is ranked 51st in Canada online, suggesting it may get more unique views online than in print.