“elmundo.es”, the first digital newspaper in Spanish

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elmundo.es” reached more than 23 million unique users in September, confirming this medium in the first place in the rank of digital newspapers in Spanish. Around 1.6 million people visit “elmundo.es” per day. 58,2% of the users of “elmundo.es” come from Spain, Mexico comes second with 10,1% of the visitors, followed by Argentina (3,8%), Venezuela (3,3%) and Colombia (3,2%).

elmundo.es” belongs to Unidad Editorial which also owns “marca.com”, with almost 20 million unique users, and “expansion.com”, with more than two million unique users. The group has a total of 41 million unique users in its different websites. Other important Spanish digital newspapers are “20minutos.es”, with more than nine million unique users per month and “telecinco.es”, with 6.7 million unique users per month; these two are the third and fourth digital information media in Spain respectively.

But the hegemony of the group on the Internet started with “elmundo.es”. The digital newspaper was launched in 1996. Then only a few people knew about the existence of the Internet. Much fewer had the possibility of using this media. In Spain, only 680.000 had Internet access; most of them used Internet only for the email.

A few number of journalists in El Mundo realized that Internet could mean a very important media in the world. Some of them started to upload some contents in the online version. The aim of “elmundo.es” consisted of informing quickly, constantly and permanently.

Four designers worked with several options considering the future of the Internet. Some of these options dropped and others made alterations. The project pursued the following ideas: more information, increased participation, better navigability, higher interaction and more services.

In June 2000, “elmundo.es” offered twenty million pages per month. From that date onwards “elmundo.es” didn´t stop growing. That same year “elmundo.es” became the leader of the digital information media in Spanish.

In early 2001 “elmundo.es” was redesigned but the most important episode, which changed the history of “elmundo.es”, happened on the 11th of September: the terrorist attack against U.S. That day “elmundo.es” competed against other media such as TV and radio, supporting an historical traffic figure of over ten million pages in a day.

The coverage of the terrorist attempt in Madrid on the 11th of March was another important moment that influenced in the impact of “elmundo.es” in the world.

The key facts which explain the success of “elmundo.es” are the following:

– They arrived first.

– “elpais.es”, their main competitor, did not manage its online business model very well and lost many users because it charged fees. When they changed this policy it was too late. Now, “elpais.es” is recovering.

– They addressed the international public, not only the Spanish one.

The aim now is to manage to make a profit with this business model. How to turn 23 million unique users into money.

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