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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Newspaper News in Context

Wahoo! Online readership of newspapers is growing at a fraction of the rate of blogs! Before ink-stained editors get too happy about today's news about online readership of newspapers being up 11 over last year according to Nielsen/NetRatings, let's put this in context.

Some of that growth is due to the decrease in subscriptions (2.6 percent) as more people are opting to read articles online for free. So newspapers need to develop online ad models that makeup for the lost print revenue.

A quick scan of citations of recent Nielsen/NetRatings data about other news sources indicates that the newspapers' traffic growth is nothing to shout about. Visitors to Yahoo News increased by 25 percent in October versus last year. That number will likely grow more as Yahoo News recently added five blogs from Gawker Media.

N/N also says blog web traffic is up 31 percent through July over last year, and the DailyKos had its traffic rise by 41 percent. So is 11 percent something to get all excited about when the sites run by non-journalists are fairing much better?

Also, blogs are one of the reasons why the newspapers' traffic is increasing. According to BlogPulse, the Washington Post and The New York Times are the 2nd and 3rd most linked to sites, behind Yahoo News, which is also the most visited news site.

Blogging is the ocean that is raising the boats of all news traffic, helping out old and new media alike. RSS is also increasing news consumption, as Nielsen/NetRatings says that people who use RSS visit three times as many news sites as those who don't.

BlogPulse spokeswoman Sue MacDonald had this to say: "My hunch? The traffic's not ONLY bloggers. I'm a diehard newspaper person who's given up print copies in the last 1-2 years (except for the Sunday NY Times, of course, which I'll read to my dying day). I think even without bloggers, people are turning to more news online, even from traditional papers, and to foreign news sources that they could never access before."

Finally, according to Alexa Internet, the reach of the NYT and WaPO have grown by 10 percent during the past three months, while DailyKos is up 51 percent, and Digg.com is up (albeit from a much smaller base) by 130 percent.

So, congrats newsprint! And rest assured that we'll be addressing this topic again soon with more hard data.

By John Gartner at 12:31 PM | Comments (0)

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