While everyone on the tube or bus reads Metro, London Lite or whatever other freebie newspaper is shoved into their hands, it appears that most readers are switching from inky newspapers to their online versions.

According to internet monitoring agency Hitwise UK Internet traffic to newspaper websites has grown by 50% over the past two years, and it reached its highest ever level for the week ending 26 January 2008.

Despite competition from online and broadcasting rivals, UK Internet visits to the websites of print newspapers have gradually increased. The week ending 26 January 2008 was a busy news week, and as a result, 1.48% of all UK Internet visits went to websites within the Hitwise News & Media - Print industry.

With stock markets tumbling and the credit crunch tightening, traffic to the Financial Times website increased by 18%. The otherwise pink business newspaper has now doubled its market share of UK Internet visits since changing its online subscription model in November 2007.

Rather depressingly the most visited newspaper website in the UK for the week ending 26 January 2008 was The Daily Mail, which achieved a market share of 4.97% of UK Internet visits to News & Media - Print websites.
It was joined in the top 5 by The Sun (4.47%), Times Online (4.31%), Guardian Unlimited (3.30%), and The Telegraph.

Of these, The Sun saw the biggest increase in traffic, thanks in part to the hosting of a video that showed pop star Amy Winehouse allegedly taking illegal drugs.

Newspaper websites are hosting an increasing amount of video, which is helping pull users with broadband connections to their websites.