Survey lists top-rating Australian Web sites

Internet research company www.consult has released its first Australian Internet Reach Report for the nation's leading Web sites.

Conducted during the week ending May 7, the report named Ninemsn, the Microsoft/PBL joint venture portal, as the number one site, finding it attracts close to 40 per cent of the "Australian Internet User Universe" - www.consult's term for the estimated 1.8 million people in Australia who access the Internet each week. Hotmail, the Web-based e-mail service, was ranked second in the report with just over 35 per cent of the Australian weekly Internet audience.

Yahoo Australia & NZ and ranked third and fourth respectively, while altavista.yellowpages and whitepages held fifth and sixth positions. OzEmail's Anzwers site came in at number seven, followed by Telstra's BigPond Home.

The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald were next with around 13 per cent of the Internet audience. OzEmail Home, News Limited and the AFL official Web site each attract between 10 and 13 per cent of Internet users, the report said.www.consult's survey indicates that a substantial number of users visit more than one of the top sites. Nevertheless, the company estimates the unduplicated reach of Ninemsn and Hotmail to be just over 50 per cent of weekly Australian Internet users.

In addition to its Internet Reach Report, www.consult has released its Sixth Australian Internet User Report, based on a survey of 25,000 Australians. The research was conducted during December 1998 and January 1999. The research indicates that of the 1.8 million regular Internet users, one million are "e-mail only" users, while a further 0.5 million are infrequent users. Said www.consult principal, Ramin Marzbani: "While growth in the Australian Internet user population has slowed, we still expect half the Australian population to be regular or casual users of the Internet in four years time."

As the Internet audience grows, other media are losing out. According to the report, 44 per cent of survey respondents said they were watching less television, and many reported that they were reading magazines and newspapers less, going to the movies less, and even sleeping less since they began using the Internet.

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