EXCLUSIVE: Many Top Web Sites Shed Uniques in October — Plus, New Metric Rates Sessions-Per-User!

By: Jennifer Saba

More than two out of three among the top 30 newspaper Web sites reported year-over-year declines in unique users in October according to new data from Nielsen Online.

Many Web sites had difficult hurdles to clear since October 2008 was the near-peak of the presidential election and the financial meltdown was in full swing. Politico and the washingtonpost.com, for example, each lost 28% of its traffic year-over-year to 3.2 million users and 8.8 million users, respectively.

Newsday, which pushed most of its content behind a paywall on Oct. 28, shed 25% of its unique users to 2.2 million. The Minneapolis Star Tribune started charging for some of its Viking’s coverage in late September and experienced a decrease in uniques, down 16% to 2 million.

This month, E&P is introducing a new metric — the average number of sessions per user over the course of the month. Of the top 30 newspaper Web sites in October, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had the highest average of sessions per person at 5.7. Others doing especially well by that measure: Chicago Tribune and The Boston Globe.

The data 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 year-over-year trending could be affected for some sites and that the below information only should be used directionally.

Below is the custom list of top 30 newspaper Web sites for October ranked by uniques with the average number of sessions per user and year-over-year comparisons. Please note that several factors including news events can cause swings in traffic.

For the September list go here.


NYTimes.com — 17,394,000 — 3.97 — (-15%)
USATODAY.com — 9,715,000 — 3.77 — (-15%)
washingtonpost.com — 8,870,000 — 3.35 — (-28%)
Wall Street Journal Online — 8,004,000 — 2.81 — (-10%)
LA Times — 7,661,000 — 2.93 — (-21%)

Daily News Online Edition — 6,733,000 — 2.35 — 44%
Boston.com — 4,760,000 — 4.05 — (-22%)
Chicago Tribune — 4,631,000 — 4.11 — (-7%)
SFGate.com/San Francisco Chronicle — 4,263,000 — 2.97 — (-8%)
New York Post — 4,222,000 — 3.32 — (-16%)

DallasNews.com/ Dallas Morning News — 3,396,000 — 2.60 — 11%
Politico — 3,285,000 — 3.30 — (-28%)
TBO.com — 3,272,000 — 1.75 — 219%
Chicago Sun-Times — 2,738,000 — 2.74 — (-31%)
NJ.com — 2,478,000 — 3.44 — 18%

Atlanta Journal-Constitution — 2,457,000 — 5.70 — (-7%)
Newsday — 2,200,000 — 2.83 — (-25%)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — 2,136,000 — 2.97 — 107%
Star Tribune — 2,096,000 — 3.49 — (-16%)
denverpost.com — 2,074,000 — 2.13 — 120%

Philly.com — 2,047,000 — 3.01 — 19%
MercuryNews.com — 2,020,000 — 2.40 — (-7%)
The Houston Chronicle — 1,909,000 — 3.97 — (-35%)
MiamiHerald.com — 1,907,000 — 2.61 — 4%
The Washington Times — 1,846,000 — 2.43 — (-10%)

KansasCity.com — 1,775,000 — 3.49 — (-30%)
Seattle Times Online Network — 1,739,000 — 3.87 — (-15%)
Baltimore Sun — 1,723,000 — 2.57 — (-12%)
tampabay.com — 1,668,000 — 3.00 — (-29%)
Orlando Sentinel — 1,580,000 — 2.74 — (-31%)

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