Herald site holds slim lead in New Zealand

New Zealand newspaper and magazine websites domestic unique users, week of May 24, 2009

The New Zealand Herald’s website nzherald.co.nz holds a narrow lead in domestic unique users over news portal stuff.co.nz, according to the latest data from Nielsen Online.

The two sites, owned respectively by rival newspaper groups APN and Fairfax, are perennial contenders for the top spot among Kiwi news readers, and also draw large international audiences, not included in the above numbers.

Top 50 web properties in US – June 2007

Top 50 US web properties - June 2007

Some US traffic trends from comScore’s report for last month:

Interest in online gaming increases traffic to sites in June

Both the online gaming information and online gaming categories gained in June, bolstered by significant growth among the under 18 demographic. The gaming information category, composed of sites that offer players the latest gaming tips and news, grew 9 percent to 42.8 million visitors, buoyed by strong growth at IGN entertainment (up 17 per cent to 10.4 million visitors), Nintendo Co. (up 26 per cent to 4.3 million visitors) and EA.com (up 41 per cent to 1.8 million visitors). The online gaming category also grew in June, gaining 8 per cent to nearly 64 million visitors. Sites catering to younger individuals saw significant gains within the category, including Disney Games (up 38 per cent to 6.3 million visitors) and Neopets (up 29 per cent to 4.8 million visitors).

World Series of Poker sparks growth to gambling sites

As excitement mounted for the approaching 2007 World Series of Poker, the online gambling category increased 13 percent to 12.5 million visitors.  With several online poker sites hosting WSOP satellite tournaments in advance of the main event, many sites experienced gains including PokerStars (up 17 percent increase to 1.6 million visitors), FullTiltPoker (up 10 per cent to 1.1 million visitors) and UltimateBet.com Online Poker (up 16 per cent to 466,000 visitors).

Online radio ranks as top-gaining category in June

Radio sites surged 34 per cent to 48.9 million visitors in June, making it the top gaining category for the month. Yahoo! Music led the category with more than 25 million visitors (up 11 per cent), while AOL Radio (up 11 per cent to 3.2 million visitors) and Disney Music (up 16 per cent to nearly 1.5 million visitors) both saw significant gains for the month.

Entertainment news sees jump with Paris Hilton media frenzy

Americans’ fascination with celebrities spurred growth in the entertainment news category, which saw a seven per cent increase to 42.1 million visitors in June. Largely fueled by national interest in the Paris Hilton scandal, traffic to entertainment news site TMZ surged 37 per cent to 9.4 million visitors for the month, while People experienced a six per cent increase to 6.1 million visitors.  The tragic news of the deaths of professional wrestler Chris Benoit and his family drove a flood of traffic to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which jumped 117 per cent to 8.4 million visitors.

Pride month boosts traffic to gay and lesbian sites

Traffic to gay/lesbian sites jumped 23 per cent in June to nearly 3 million visitors as people across the nation celebrated Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. The category was led by PlanetOut with 742,000 visitors (up 19 per cent), followed by Queer Sighted with 563,000 visitors (up 116 per cent), and LOGOonline with 454,000 visitors (up 17 per cent).

Top New Zealand news sites

Top New Zealand news sites

The latest traffic summary from Nielsen NetRatings New Zealand ranks the country’s top news sites last month, including TV3 which makes a strong first appearance in the Top Five at number three.

That will be a bit of good news for the new majority owners of TV3 parent CanWest MediaWorks. Ironbridge Capital now holds a 70 per cent stake in the business, which it purchased from Canadian company CanWest Global Communications. Ironbridge is currently attempting to buy the remaining shares in CanWest MediaWorks, which are held by institutional and private investors.

The arrival of TV3 in the Top Five knocks the NewsTalk ZB radio site off the list. TV3 is also positioned ahead of rival broadcaster TVNZ’s online news service.

It should be noted, however, that the data reflect only traffic to the News sections of the sites [excluding sections such as Business, Sport, Entertainment and Lifestyle] .

As well, the rankings are based on unique visitors from within New Zealand only, which may be fewer than half of total visitors for some sites [e.g. nzherald].

<< April’s Top Five

Top 50 web properties in US – May 2007

Top 50 US web properties - May 2007

Some US traffic trends from comScore’s report for last month:

Summer movie season kickoff heats up web traffic in May

The launch of summer movie season saw traffic increase to several movie-related sites over the month. The tickets category gained 12 per cent versus April to 40.8 million visitors, buoyed by strong growth at MovieTickets.com (up 55 per cent to 5 million visitors) and Fandango.com (up 50 per cent to 7 million visitors). The retail movies category experienced a 7 per cent increase to 27.6 million visitors, while movie social networking site Flixster.com saw its traffic surge 65 per cent to 4.5 million visitors.

Political sites get boost from the debates

With both Republican and Democratic presidential debates swinging into action, the politics category saw a 17 per cent increase to 9 million visitors in May, making it the top-gaining category overall for the month. Traffic to Politico.com, which sponsored the Republican Presidential debate on May 3, jumped 162 per cent for the month to 648,000 visitors, while MoveOn.org’s traffic surged 246 per cent to 689,000 visitors due in large part to an online petition against gas price increases. Several presidential candidate websites also saw their traffic increase, led by BarackObama.com (up 13 per cent to 298,000 visitors) and HillaryClinton.com (up 3 per cent to 217,000 visitors).

Overseas visitors outnumber locals on UK media sites

Unique visitors to UK media groups, April 2007. Source: comScore World Metrix

Many major UK media websites draw more than half of their unique visitors from offshore, according to web ratings service comScore, which reports:

…in April 2007 many of the UK’s largest traditional media sites attracted more visitors from overseas than from within the UK. comScore data revealed that online visitors from outside the UK outnumbered the domestic audience in the case of the BBC, the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Times, the Independent, the Daily Mail, the Mirror and the Financial Times.

This isn’t too surprising to me, especially when those UK brands are so well-known. When I was at nzherald.co.nz, we also drew well over half our visitors from outside New Zealand. But it’s important to remember that we’re talking about unique visitors — many of whom came to our site via search engines or news aggregators such as the Drudge Report or Slashdot. Such readers tended to look at very few pages. Most page impressions, however, were delivered to local readers — people with a deeper and broader interest in the news we published.

There are a couple of challenges for websites that draw a substantial portion of their traffic from offshore:

  • providing international bandwidth [which in New Zealand was far more expensive than domestic]
  • selling and geo-targeting ads to be seen by offshore readers [unless domestic advertisers are happy to pay for international impressions, and this certainly happens]

Comparing top sites: US and NZ

Hitwise top 15 sites - US and NZ - April 2007

It’s always fun (well, I think so, at least) to compare web traffic stats. Today I was having a look at the top sites identified by Hitwise for the United States and New Zealand. (Unfortunately Hitwise doesn’t report Canadian data.)

First off, it’s important to note that the data refer to market share (expressed as a percentage) of all visits to sites by users based in the specified country. That’s not the way most websites report their rankings, which are more often based on page impressions or unique (unrepeated) visitors during a period. Moreover, the Hitwise data are extrapolations based on samples obtained from co-operating ISPs in the specific countries, not actual counts.

OK, now to the comparison. A few things I found noteworthy:

  • No news website appears in the US top 15. But two (nzherald and stuff) appear on the NZ list. Yes, Kiwis are always on the lookout for news (especially if it’s about rugby). 😉
  • Auction site eBay is number 8 on the US list. But home-grown auction site Trade Me is number 3 in NZ. In fact, more than a quarter of all New Zealanders are registered members of Trade Me, which was sold last year to publishing group Fairfax for NZ$700 million. Now that’s a success story. I find it much nicer to use than eBay and just wish they’d expand out of the Antipodes.
  • In the US, the social networking action is on MySpace and, increasingly, Facebook. In NZ, British-based Bebo dominates. A Silicon Valley rumour has Yahoo looking at buying Bebo for around US$1 billion.
  • YouTube and Wikipedia are popular in both countries. (At least the kids are doing their homework while they watch videos?)
  • In both countries, web traffic is dominated by search and email.

Top US newspaper sites – April 2007

Still number one among US newspaper websites in April: nytimes.com with 13,735,000 unique visitors, more than 450 million page impressions, and a very impressive average visit duration of 34 minutes.

Other sites in the top five had session durations as low as six minutes.

Notably, wallstreetjournal.com fell from fifth spot to ninth, when ranked according to unique visitors.

>> Full results for the Top 30, from Nielsen NetRatings via Editor & Publisher

What will replace the page impression?

There’s been a lot of talk about the death of Page Impressions as a useful means of comparing website traffic, particularly as single web pages contain more and more dynamic content, e.g. Ajax, Flash, video.

At the same time, performance-based advertising models (where advertisers pay for clicks or even for actual “conversions”) are taking the focus off simple impressions and the CPM model of advertising.

But if not Impressions, then what exactly will web publishers and advertising networks be selling?

Joe Marchese at MediaPost proposes a combination of three factors:

Impressions have their role in the next generation of advertising metrics, but as a component. I would argue that any meaningful metric will account for volume of impressions, quality of content and alignment of content with brand advertiser goals. Combining these variables will create the demand market for influence needed to correctly align publishers’ and advertisers’ goals.

OK, so we know how to measure and report Impressions. Now, the prize will go to the first person who can come up with a universally accepted means of measuring and reporting “quality of content” and “alignment of content”. That’s a big challenge.

New Zealand’s top news sites

Chart courtesy Nielsen NetRatings NZ

The latest chart from Nielsen NetRatings ranks New Zealand’s top five news sites according to the number of NZ-based visitors last month.

It’s important to note that for nzherald, stuff, and tvnz, the chart shows only the visitors to the sites’ news sections.

Also, the chart shows only NZ-based visitors. For some sites (nzherald, for sure) this may be significantly lower than the total number of visitors.