Web traffic

Gap widens between top NZ news sites

Nielsen Top Websites General News Category Jan 2012

Latest data from Neilsen show that Stuff.co.nz/news has extended its lead in the General News category with growth of 29 per cent in the number of NZ-based average daily unique browsers when compared to the same category ranking a year ago.

The Wellington-based site, owned by Fairfax, now enjoys a lead of 48 per cent over long-time rival nzherald.co.nz, owned by APN.

Just six months ago, the margin between the top two sites was 25 per cent.

Stuff.co.nz/news has increased its New Zealand-based news visitors by more than ten per cent while nzherald.co.nz/news has lost almost seven per cent since August of last year.

Third-placed yahoo.co.nz/news is down slightly in the same period, while fourth-placed tvnz.co.nz/news and fifth-placed BBC (no URL cited) have both gained slightly.

All figures are based on NZ domestic traffic to the news sections of the various websites. They do not indicate total visitors or page views.

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Stuff.co.nz extends lead in NZ-based visitors

Nielsen NZ NetRatings 2011-07

The news section of Fairfax’s stuff.co.nz news website extended its lead over the news section at APN’s nzherald.co.nz in July, according to data released today by Nielsen.

Yahooxtra.co.nz was in third place.

Average daily unique visitors at stuff.co.nz were 16.4 per cent higher in July than in January.

All figures are based on NZ domestic traffic to the news sections of the various websites.

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Iran coverage boosts CNN’s iReport traffic

Andy Plesser of Beet.TV quotes a statement by CNN that page views for its user-generated iReport site reached one million on Monday, driven by coverage of post-election protests in Iran.

To put this in perspective, iReport (which was launched in February 2008) averaged 316,000 page views per day in 2008 (9.6 million per month) according to Nielsen Online data reported by CNN. The main news site, cnn.com, averaged about 35 million page views per day, according to comScore numbers quoted by TechCrunch in November.

Plesser says that over the past week, “some 5,000 Iran-related videos and photos have been uploaded to iReport” and that “about 150 of these citizen contributions have been used on the air or on CNN.com after being vetted and verified by the network.”

In a video interview Wednesday with Plesser, iReport senior producer Lila King talks about how the network uses multiple iReports to corroborate information, and how iReport has become part of its world news coverage.

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Americans spending less time on top newspaper sites

According to Editor and Publisher, the average “time spent per user was down for more than half the top 30 global news and current events sites” in May 2009 compared to May 2008.

But that’s only telling part of the story.

The data come from sites measured by Nielsen Online, and only reflect US-based users.

Moreover, many sites saw increases in average monthly time per user, chiefly Google News, BBC, the Huffington Post and Cox Newspapers.

While it’s true to say that newspaper sites, in general, didn’t fare well, neither did some major broadcasters (including Fox) and online portals (e.g. AOL).

In the table below, sites are ranked according to total unique users (not time spent per user) during May 2009.

     Site — May ’09 (hour:minute:second) — May ’08

  1. MSNBC Digital Network — 0:21:40 — 0:29:00
  2. Yahoo! News — 0:18:25 — 0:22:12
  3. CNN Digital Network — 0:35:50 — 0:38:48
  4. AOL News — 0:24:01 — 0:35:27
  5. NYTimes.com — 0:27:34 — 0:28:52
  6. Tribune Newspapers — 0:09:31 — 0:08:59
  7. Fox News Digital Network — 0:32:39 — 0:43:16
  8. Gannett Newspapers and Newspaper Division — 0:22:20 — 0:19:49
  9. ABCNEWS Digital Network — 0:09:36 — 0:09:34
  10. Google News — 0:22:12 — 0:12:28
  11. McClatchy Newspaper Network — 0:09:24 — 0:12:41
  12. USATODAY.com — 0:12:11 — 0:13:00
  13. washingtonpost.com — 0:10:58 — 0:16:04
  14. CBS News Digital Network — 0:07:14 — 0:08:00
  15. Advance Internet — 0:10:33 — 0:14:27
  16. BBC — 0:13:02 — 0:09:13
  17. WorldNow — 0:10:54 — 0:17:55
  18. Hearst Newspapers Digital — 0:20:00 — 0:17:45
  19. MediaNews Group Newspapers — 0:10:57 — 0:12:13
  20. TheHuffingtonPost.com — 0:14:57 — 0:08:50
  21. Daily News Online Edition — 0:05:47 — 0:06:16
  22. Topix — 0:05:20 — 0:04:40
  23. New York Post Holdings — 0:10:57 — 0:08:02
  24. Cox Newspapers — 0:16:01 — 0:12:58
  25. NBC Local Media — 0:04:04 — N/A
  26. Boston.com — 0:10:06 — 0:09:40
  27. NPR — 0:07:37 — 0:07:31
  28. MailOnline — 0:06:47 — 0:08:44
  29. The Slate Group Websites — 0:09:53 — 0:07:37
  30. Telegraph — 0:03:50 — 0:05:03
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Online video viewing up 68%

Online video viewing has increased dramatically over the past year, according to US data from Nielsen Online.

Online video usage in the USA - May 2009

The Nielsen chart above shows an increase in the number of viewers, but even stronger growth in the number of minutes that each viewer spent, on average, watching online video. This made me wonder about the growth in total minutes of online video, so I decided to work it out:

May 2009: 133.8 million viewers x 188.7 minutes/viewer = 25.2 billion minutes

May 2008: 118.6 million viewers x 126.7 minutes/viewer = 15.0 billion minutes

The change in total minutes of online video is 25.2/15.0, or an increase of 68 per cent.

(I derived the May 2008 numbers by reversing the percentage changes provided by Nielsen.)

YouTube was by far the leader in video delivery, with more than 95 million unique visitors last month, and more than six billion video streams.

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Charting the change in classified advertising

These charts, from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, really need no commentary and certainly won’t come as a surprise.

Percentage of adults using classified advertising websites

Newspaper revenue from classified advertising

Of course “classifieds ads websites” is another way of saying Craigslist, which had 42.2 million unique visitors in March 2009, compared with 53.8 million total unique visitors to classified sites.

For an equally dramatic chart of US newspaper ad revenues (not just classifieds) over the past three years, visit Alan Mutter’s blog.

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Improved comScore still missing part of the picture

Web metrics provider comScore has announced an extension to its methodology that it says willl “account for 100 per cent of a website’s audience.”

The new Media Metrix 360 may well do that, and should mollify some comScore clients who feel they’ve been under-rated by the current system.

But there’s still a significant problem: the enhancement will only apply to sites that are comScore clients, meaning the rest of the web will be under-counted by comparison, and the results will continue to be confusing or misleading.

Starting with July 2009 data in Canada and the United States, comScore will augment its current panel-based surveys with server metrics provided by participating websites. This “panel-centric hybrid” system will be extended to the United Kingdom in August. Other countries will follow, although the timeline hasn’t been announced.

The panel-based system, although good for correlating demographic and geographic factors with web traffic, has been limited by the fact that panel members must install tracking software on their computers. As a result, home computers are over-represented, compared to work and public computers. For sites such as news providers, which typically draw most of their traffic during the workday, the gap between comScore numbers and those generated internally, by server logs or software such as Omniture, can be huge.

comScore says websites participating in the new system will need to embed beacon calls on their content. This certainly has the advantage (compared with a purely panel-based system) of enabling comScore to track usage not just in the home, but anywhere that content is delivered, including internet cafes, HTML emails and even mobile devices. And comScore says its clients will get a more granular view of their traffic. That’s a real step forward for sites that don’t already have good analytics tools.

But to present a more accurate picture of market share, a third type of metric needs to be integrated into the mix: ISP-based tracking of all sites accessed (the approach used by Hitwise). This would enable website operators to better understand the entire online market, including the impact of sites that are not comScore clients.

Given that comScore reports are the de facto method for judging Canadian websites’ market share, a comprehensive solution would bring much-needed clarity and no doubt increase advertiser confidence.

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