New Zealand

Tech readers in the Zone

Last week: Chart courtesy Nielsen NetRatings NZ    5 mo ago: Chart courtesy Nielsen NetRatings NZ

If you’re on top of technology news in New Zealand, then you’re probably a frequent visitor to geekzone.co.nz, the unflashy but highly credible site run by Mauricio Freitas from Wellington.

Geekzone offers its readers tech news and reviews, chats and discussion forums [don’t geeks love those!], plus blogs such as Juha Saarinen’s popular Techsploder.

The site is quite a success story too, with the latest Nielsen NetRatings showing the site drew almost 122,000 unique visitors last week [see first table above].

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CanWest profit up, helped by 30% online ad growth

CanWest’s Canadian web portal canada.com

Winnipeg-based media giant CanWest Global on Friday reported strong results for the second quarter and half year ending February 28, helped by the surge in online advertising and a turn-around at the company’s Canadian television operations.

The official announcement said:

Publishing revenues were flat as compared to the prior year, reflecting a soft print advertising market bolstered by growth in the Company’s online classified revenues (up 30% as compared to the prior year).

Canadian television revenue rose eight per cent to C$166 million. The company did not provide a figure for online revenue, but said its canada.com portal “achieved a 55 per cent increase in audience over the same period last year to over 5.2 million unique monthly visitors”.

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Learning from website polls

Game platform preferences. Source: nzherald.co.nz

I love website polls, and not just for their entertainment value. When well designed and interpreted with caution, they can tell you something about the users of a site.

There’s a good example on nzherald.co.nz today. Responses to the poll suggests that almost half of the site’s readers aren’t into gaming.

The beauty of this is that the editor who created the poll did not exclude non-gamers and, as a result, learned something useful about the site’s readers.

The poll could be improved by adding more response options, e.g. for people who prefer an “other” platform, and for people who are into gaming but don’t have a preference.

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Search, it’s what we do online

Search engine Google is the most popular website among New Zealanders, and by a healthy margin, according to the latest data from web tracking service Hitwise.

Google has three sites in the top 20 list, based on market share of visits by New Zealanders, giving it a combined share of almost eleven per cent of all website visits in February. If one were to include visits to Wikipedia (a searchable encyclopedia) then the search category market share would be even higher, at 11.6 per cent.

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CanWest gets web traffic boost

Source: Nielsen NetRatings

CanWest’s New Zealand web traffic has taken a huge leap, attributed to a deal under which CanWest supplies headline links to its TV3 website from the new portal msn.co.nz.

Nielsen NetRatings analyst Tony Boyte says the impact was obvious in the Unique Browser numbers for the Radio/TV category in the week ending March 11 (the first full week since the launch of msn.co.nz).

The results for this week show a very large increase for tv3.co.nz site traffic, since they started a news content deal with msn.co.nz at the beginning of March. tv3.co.nz site traffic is now more than three times the volume it was registering for any given week in February.

Sites in this category are currently shown by brand, so Television New Zealand’s visitor traffic is split rather than shown as a whole. As a result, TV One and TV2 are separated and appear in this top ten ranking individually. For the same week to 11 March 2007, total traffic to tvnz.co.nz was 213,685 Unique Browsers.

The MSN site appeared on March 1 after the expiry of a deal under which nineMSN.com.au (a joint venture of Microsoft and Australian media conglomerate Publishing and Broadcasting Limited) licensed its content to Telecom’s xtramsn.co.nz site [closed]. Telecom now partners with Yahoo! in the just-launched yahooxtra.co.nz.

MSN now operates in the New Zealand market under its own banner, providing continuity for users of its MSN messenger and Hotmail services. The content on msn.co.nz is from outside providers such as TV3 and RadioLive (both owned by CanWest), as well as from ACP New Zealand magazines, a division of Publishing and Broadcasting Limited.

Although the increase in tv3.co.nz unique browsers to 139,000 is dramatic, the number is still far below the weekly numbers for sites such as nzherald and stuff which were drawing more than 400,000 unique browsers per week late last year.

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New citizen media site launches

New Zealand has a new site for citizen journalists at infonews.co.nz.

Created by Fraser Mills and Peter Hodge, two recent graduates of the Peter Arnett School of Journalism in Invercargill, InfoNews invites anyone to submit local news, photos or video.

The site, which launched today, also has an events list and forums.

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Online ad data due next month

Finally, we are about to get reliable data on the amount of money spent on online advertising in New Zealand.

The first figures from the new Interactive Advertising Bureau will be incorporated in annual data to be published by the Advertising Standards Authority next month, writes John Drinnan at nzherald.co.nz.

Online advertising in New Zealand has lagged behind other countries such as the US and Australia, with an estimated 2-4 per cent share of total advertising expenditure, depending on whether you factor in formats such as paid search.

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Don’t let facts get in the way of a good headline

The Times Online headlines its story on yesterday’s stoush between Japanese whalers and the anti-whaling activists of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society with this imaginative headline:

Whalers rescue environmentalists in Antarctic drama

But there is nothing in the story to substantiate that – not even a quote from the whalers themselves. So I checked the whalers’ website, where they say they participated in the search for two Sea Shepherd crewmembers adrift in an inflatable boat, but make no claim to having been part of the actual rescue.

Did the Times just decide to make up an ironic headline? It looks like it. According to Sea Shepherd, the two crewmembers were recovered by their own ship, Farley Mowat.

By joining in the search, the whalers did exactly what they were obligated to do when a distress situation had been declared by the captain of Farley Mowat, just as New Zealand came to the aid of a sick whaler, transporting him by helicopter to hospital in Wellington last Sunday.

Looks like the Times doesn’t believe in crediting sources either. The photo on their story was clearly taken from the Sea Shepherd website, but without attribution.

Despite these problems, I thought the actual story by Richard Lloyd Parry was balanced and comprehensive.

Near the end Parry refers to the fact that the UK and Belize have decided to cancel the registrations of the two Sea Shepherd ships. The big question – and one journalists should be looking into – is what will that mean for the ships and their crews at the end of this campaign in Antarctica?

UPDATE [11-Feb-07] The Times Online has changed the headline on their story to “Whalers aid in Antarctic rescue of environmentalists” but hasn’t explained the change.


Video by a crewmember on the Japanese whaling ship Nisshin Maru shows stink bombs being fired from the Sea Shepherd ship Robert Hunter yesterday [more videos]

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