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The coronavirus traffic bump is over in the West. India is just getting warmed up

Main insights from the Similarweb traffic dashboard

The impact of COVID-19 on the world of media can now be seen in (almost) real time with a new dashboard launched by digital analytics provider SimilarWeb.

Although the dashboard doesn’t give you much freedom in terms of customizing time ranges (only numbers for the last week are available), it still gives a lot of valuable insights on how news consumption is evolving in different countries.

March saw huge increases across Western countries — virtually all media experienced double digit traffic increases. Independent/ community media fared particularly well, while many fact-checkers soared with triple digits.

That bump is basically over. Last week’s Nieman Lab published a piece arguing people can no longer deal with the intensity of coronavirus news and consumption is getting back to normal.

That might be true in most Western countries, but still the global “News and Media” indicator showed a pretty large 6.4% rise last week. 

There is only one explanation for this — India’s pandemic is picking up pace. 

Indian news aggregator “UC News” showed an astonishing +338% increase last week. The numbers are so big (given India’s vast population and the quick spread of the virus) that India itself seems to have reversed the global traffic dynamics. 

Worldwide traffic dynamic for news media, last week
Source: Similarweb dashboard

Meanwhile, the West is indeed getting back to normal with a very clear declining trend that started in early-April and continues to this day. The United States lost almost 3% last week, with the New York Times website losing more than 14.4%. 

US traffic dynamic for news media, last week

A similar dynamic can be seen in most Western Europe countries. The UK, Spain and Italy all showed sizable declines, ranging from -3.4% for Italy and up to -5.8% for the UK. Below are the graphs for those countries with detailed traffic numbers for top-5 players in the markets. 

UK traffic dynamic for news media, last week
Spain traffic dynamic for news media, last week
Italy traffic dynamic for news media, last week

Weirdly enough, Germany alone stood out among major Western countries, with over 3% growth last week. The country saw one of the lowest increases in March, so the base effect is much smaller, but remains somewhat puzzling. Four out of the five biggest media websites did very well – only Die Welt was unlucky to show an almost 4.5% decrease.

Germany traffic dynamic for news media, last week
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