Record readership for South African online news publications – Top websites and publishers revealed

South African online news publications are on the forefront of providing accurate and timely information about the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown.

President Cyril Ramaphosa recently applauded the media for its indispensable contribution to the national effort to confront this crisis.

“Through its reporting on the disease, the media has helped to inform and empower South Africans, stimulate public debate, and promote accountability,” Ramaphosa said.

“The media has had to fulfil this role under the difficult conditions of lockdown, which has required new ways of working and reaching readers, listeners and viewers.”

The preferred method for millions of South African to access information about COVID-19 was using online resources.

With the widespread distribution of fake news and false reports on social media, South Africans flocked to online publications for reliable news.

The importance of trusted news was clearly visible in the record readership numbers of South Africa’s top online news publications during the lockdown.

South Africa’s largest online news publication, News24, grew its readership to 11.6 million unique browsers in May.

IOL, BusinessTech, and TimesLive also attracted very large audiences over the last month with 8.7 million, 8.2 million, and 6.9 million unique browsers respectively.

The table below lists the readership figures for South Africa’s largest online publications, based on the May 2020 Narratiive report.

Narratiive is the official traffic measurement partner of the IAB South Africa and provides accurate traffic and demographics statistics for South Africa’s top websites.

Biggest Online Publications in South Africa
Website Unique Browsers Page Views 11,631,619 112525912 8,734,456 37623092 8,197,624 31969190 6,922,031 30318921 5,258,741 17897338 5,147,233 22589774 4,437,502 21366391 4,161,455 18427418 3,830,819 13320941 3,265,394 10557570 2,991,480 10119696 2,943,569 29791057 2,746,077 11182282 2,629,054 7597248 2,600,473 8869505 2,557,253 7318347 2,315,090 22783194 2,190,531 15542543
City Press 1,921,429 4773134 1,914,617 4541741
Biggest Online Tech Publications in South Africa
Website Unique Browsers Page Views 3,265,394 10,557,570 306,331 597,374 261,290 462,122 100,155 187,579 79,674 106,284
Biggest Online Business Publications in South Africa
Website Unique Browsers Page Views 8,197,624 31,969,190 5,147,233 22,589,774 2,991,480 10,119,696 2,600,473 8,869,505 1,746,992 8,430,300

Biggest online publishers in South Africa

Narratiive Measure also tracks statistics for online publishers, showing the total reach of a publisher’s websites. is by far the largest online publisher in South Africa, with a combined readership of 24 million unique browsers across its online news publications.

It is followed by Arena Holdings, Caxton Digital, MyBroadband, and Independent Online.

The table below shows the top online publishers in South Africa, ranked according to local readership.

Biggest Online Publishers in South Africa
Publisher Prominent Publications Unique Browsers Page Views News24, Fin24, Business Insider 24,276,993 471,148,156
Arena Holdings TimesLive, Sowetan Live, Business Live 12,366,585 60,916,995
Caxton Digital Citizen, All4Women 11,041,643 51,133,068
MyBroadband MyBroadband, BusinessTech 10,259,924 42,534,073
Independent Online IOL, Daily Voice 9,780,968 46,756,753
Primedia Broadcasting EWN, Cape Talk 6,159,704 24,263,441
The South African The South African 5,258,741 17,897,338
The Daily Maverick The Daily Maverick 3,830,819 13,320,941
MediaMark MSN, Kaya FM 3,008,273 30,014,506
Sabido ENCA 2,665,106 8,154,011

Now read: New rules for all websites and ISPs during coronavirus outbreak

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Record readership for South African online news publications – Top websites and publishers revealed