The group's news sites have broken previous monthly and daily records. 

Riaan Wolmarans, managing editor for Digital at Arena Holdings, says, "It's been an incredibly busy period fuelled by the lockdown, during which South Africans have relied heavily on our digital platforms for breaking news and updates on the national coronavirus situation."

"Because we understand the essential role of the media during this critical period, all our reporting on COVID-19 is free to read. We want to ensure that despite the lockdown, our readers are still kept informed with credible, accurate news via our online platforms," adds Wolmarans.

Arena's flagship website TimesLIVE saw a 37.4% month-on-month increase in site traffic, with 7.4 million unique browsers (UBs, readers) logging on in South Africa. It also saw a total of 8.7 million UBs during March.

This also marks the first time that TimesLIVE has surpassed 7 million UBs in a single month, and more than 1 million readers in a single day.

BusinessLIVE, South Africa's leading portal for local and international business news, has similarly experienced a record surge in traffic with 2.1 million UBs in South Africa, a month-on-month increase of 42.5%, and 2.5 million UBs overall.

The Business Day section of BusinessLIVE saw site traffic increase by 56.2% month-on-month, with a record 1.8 million UBs in South Africa and 2.1 million UBs in total.

Financial Mail content hosted on the BusinessLIVE platform similarly experienced 50.3% month-on-month growth, with a record of 481,692 UBs in South Africa and 527,537 UBs in total.

HeraldLIVE and DispatchLIVE, the websites for Arena's respective print titles in the Eastern Cape, have also hit bumper traffic.

HeraldLIVE showed a month-on-month increase of 43.1% to see a record of 1.2 million UBs in South Africa, while DispatchLIVE experienced a 217.6% boost to reach a record 2.1 million UBs.

During March, daily records for UBs in South Africa were also achieved by BusinessLIVE, HeraldLIVE, DispatchLIVE, Sunday Times and Times Select.

March proved to be the second-best month on record for SowetanLIVE (up 31.2% to 3.8 million UBs) and Sunday Times (up 5.2% to 1.7 million UBs)

Lockdown offers

Over and above making all their COVID-19 content free, Arena Holdings has also launched 'lockdown offers' to allow more affordable access to other news content held behind the paywalls of:
  • BusinessLIVE (Business Day & Financial Mail)
  • Sunday Times 
  • Times Select 
  • Vrye Weekblad, and
  • HeraldLIVE. 
Readers can access 60 days of content, at a cost of only R60.

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