EXCLUSIVE: Growth Stalls at Many Top News Sites in October

By: Jennifer Saba

Many of the top global news and current events Web sites lost unique users in October because of difficult year-over-year comparisons. However, two sites within the top five gained uniques during the month: Yahoo, up 10% to 41 million and AOL News. Uniques there rose 17% to 24.3 million.

Even the Huffington Post, which has been growing its audience at fast clip, hit a speed bump in October. The number of unique users advanced 8% to 8.7 million. In September, the Huff Post grew 26% year-over-year to 9.4 million.

As noted with the top 30 newspaper Web sites in October, year-over-year changes were affected by a closely watched presidential election and fall of the financial industry during the same month last year.

This month, E&P is introducing a new metric — the average number of sessions per user over the course of the month. CNN digital network tops the list with the highest average of sessions per person at 7.9.

Year-over-year comparisons should be viewed with some caution, Nielsen emphasized. As of June 2009, the measurement firm vastly expanded its panel making it eight times larger. As a result, Nielsen warns that trending could be affected for some sites.

Below is the list of top 30 online current events and global news destinations for October ranked by uniques with the average number of sessions per user and year-over-year comparisons. Additionally, The Wall Street Journal is included on another Nielsen list, which tracks business and financial sites.

For the September list, go here.


Yahoo! News — 41,067,000 — 5.76 — 10%
CNN Digital Network — 38,270,000 — 7.97 — (-1%)
MSNBC Digital Network — 35,133,000 — 5.83 — (-14%)
AOL News — 24,334,000 — 7.07 — 17%
NYTimes.com — 17,394,000 — 3.97 — (-15%)

Fox News Digital Network — 16,212,000 — 6.35 — 14%
Tribune Newspapers — 14,988,000 — 3.89 — (-15%)
ABCNEWS Digital Network — 13,785,000 — 3.10 — (-11%)
Google News — 13,760,000 — 4.33 — 10%
Gannett Newspapers and Newspaper Division — 12,388,000 – 5.18 — (-4%)

McClatchy Newspaper Network — 10,372,000 — 4.08 — (-5%)
CBS News Digital Network — 10,000,000 — 2.75 — (-9%)
USATODAY.com — 9,715,000 — 3.77 — (-15%)
washingtonpost.com — 8,870,000 — 3.35 — (-28%)
Advance Internet — 8,867,000 — 4.16 — 11%

MediaNews Group Newspapers — 8,770,000 — 3.63 — 2%
TheHuffingtonPost.com — 8,759,000 — 3.35 — 8%
Hearst Newspapers Digital — 8,376,000 — 3.52 — (-6%)
BBC — 7,824,000 — 3.79 — (-13%)
WorldNow — 7,497,000 — 3.71 — (-1%)

Daily News Online Edition — 6,733,000 — 2.35 — 44%
The Slate Group Websites — 5,443,000 — 2.62 — (-17%)
Examiner.com — 5,355,000 — 1.80 — 195%
NBC Local Media — 5,257,000 — 2.45 — 67%
Topix — 4,791,000 — 2.50 — (-30%)

Gannett Broadcasting — 4,781,000 — 4.13 — (-10%)
Cox Newspapers — 4,778,000 — 5.34 — (-15%)
Boston.com — 4,760,000 — 4.05 — (-22%)
NPR — 4,586,000 — 2.32 — (-9%)
Belo Newspapers — 4,376,000 — 2.87 — (-3%)

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