The Telegraph web site was relaunched recently and they are promoting this with an advertising campaign. I’ve seen many adverts on the escalators in tube stations.
But these adverts have some very strange wording on them. They claim that the Telegraph site is “the UK’s most visited quality newspaper web site”. And there’s a logo which is probably from the organisation who created the statistics that the Telegraph are quoting from. There’s a similar claim on the new site (“Britain’s No.1 quality newspaper website”) together a logo which links to this page on a site owned by a company called Hitwise.
Now these kinds of claims are pretty rigorously tracked by the advertising standards people, so I was interested to hear the Telegraph making them. Everything I’ve read before says that Guardian Unlimited is the most visited UK newspaper site. For example this report from Alexa has GU at number 29, the Sun at 48, the Times at 50 and the Telegraph at 97. So I wondered how the Telegraph could get away with this claim. Perhaps it has something to do with the word “quality”. Is it possible that they are equating a quality newspaper with a broadsheet newpaper? The Telegraph and the Financial Times are the only remaining national broadsheets in the UK – so that would certainly explain how the Telegraph can claim the title. But it’s a bit of a stretch to claim that the Times, the Guardian and the Independent all stopped being quality papers when they moved from the broadsheet format.
Perhaps I should just contact the Telegraph, or Hitwise, and find out what their definitions mean. Because currently it’s all a bit confusing.
Update: Simon Waldman (who knows a bit about this topic) discusses the Telegraph’s claims.