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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Free Malaysia Today (FMT) is now one of the top three local news portals in the country



FMT makes quantum leap to Malaysia’s top 3

FMT Reporters | June 12, 2018



Since last year, FMT, the youngest in a list of other top news portals, has been recording steady growth in readership.




PETALING JAYA: Free Malaysia Today (FMT) is now one of the top three local news portals in the country, ranked at number 26 in a list of websites visited in Malaysia according to the latest statistics by leading online market intelligence company, SimilarWeb.

The nine-year-old bilingual news portal also recorded the biggest spike in traffic, jumping 18 positions to be ranked the 26th most accessed website across all categories in Malaysia.

Older players such as 19-year-old Malaysiakini and 23-year-old The Star Online meanwhile ranked 11th and 16th respectively, according to statistics generated up to last month.



FMT’s ranking is also higher than that of news sites operated by giant media companies such as Astro Awani, Sinar Harian, Harian Metro and Utusan Online.

Another news portal which saw a big leap was Chinese-language China Press, jumping 37 places to be ranked 41st in the list of top websites in Malaysia.

While the intense interest surrounding last month’s polls factored into the spike in traffic for local news websites, FMT was recording growth even before the general election season reached fever pitch in April and early May.

In January this year, FMT had about 6.5 million total visits while The Star Online had some 16 million. By April, FMT had recorded 12.5 million visits while The Star Online continued to hover around 16 million.

The gap between the two was further narrowed last month, with FMT recording 27.2 million, less than three million short of the total visits recorded for The Star Online.

FMT Media, the company which operates the news portal from its Petaling Jaya office, said the numbers showed it was maintaining its reputation as the fastest growing news site in the country.

It is also the youngest news portal in a list of top Malaysian news portals.

“We are delighted yet humbled by our latest ranking. It is a clear validation of our belief in responsible, balanced reporting,” said FMT Media CEO Rajendran Menon.

He attributed the spike in traffic to a two-year content improvisation exercise undertaken by the editorial team.

“What has made us an endearing brand is our ability to report the news as it is, delivering unvarnished truth without any embellishment.

“We see anything less as an affront to our profession,” said Raj, adding that FMT’s post-election coverage would further show that the portal is independent and revenue-driven, not “funded”.

Since 2016, FMT has seen a transformation in the way it carries news, with more selective and in-depth stories being published for the discerning reader.

But editor-in-chief Abdar Rahman Koya said there was still a huge task ahead.

He said the spike in readership during the election was not merely part of the general trend, but the result of a carefully planned coverage of the election campaign with reporters sent to every state.

“On our microsite, we were breaking big stories in small doses,” he said.

He said the growing interest in FMT showed how having good content was all that mattered when competing with larger players which had “bigger resources”.

“Our brand of journalism has come a long way, but we have set ourselves a benchmark that goes beyond local competition. There’s so much more to do, being number one included.”

The next phase of FMT’s growth will see a completely revamped design. The new design was deliberately delayed to avoid disruptions, but is now set to be launched weeks from now, Rahman added.

For detailed information on FMT readership, please click here.

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