Third Quarter Newspaper Traffic Skyrockets

Posted on 11/7/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

According to research conducted by Nielsen Online for the Newspaper Association of America, newspaper Web sites attracted close to 42% of all Internet users in the third quarter of 2008. Over 68 million unique visitors represent a 16% increase over the previous year, along with a 25% increase in pageviews and record-setting numbers of pages, time and visits per person.

The figures are the highest since 2004. NAA says that newspapers are the top local information brands, and their Web sites are trusted for comprehensive and timely coverage.

Much of the traffic increase can be attributed to the race for the White House. However, there has been ample previous evidence that newspaper Web sites enjoy the brand capital of their offline predecessors.

As the latter continue to bleed, publishers are resorting to redesigns that place increased emphasis on visuals, hoping to keep or attract readers. The Wall Street Journal, for instance, has recently favored photographs over its more typical illustrative treatments; The Baltimore Sun and others have redesigned, integrating larger images and more graphics.

As broadband proliferates, all online publishers are increasing their emphasis on visuals. Newspapers have started displaying photographs at sizes that would have given the average Webmaster a heart attack just a couple of years back.

In a straightforward analysis, more and larger images online and off should translate into more sales and increased revenues for the stock-licensing industry—yet this is highly unlikely. Print newspapers are hurting, if not dying; the global financial crisis might just finish what the Internet started. Newspapers may have increased the volume of images used, but in an effort to cut costs, even the most respected titles are using microstock Web sites and Flickr for everything possible. Even editorial-image suppliers are being squeezed for cheaper pricing. Whatever increases there may be in online image use will be similarly leaning towards the least expensive sources. In the end, record online readership makes little difference, since the newspaper industry continues losing money in print and has been infamously unable to monetize online content.

Copyright © 2008 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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