Newspaper Web Site Traffic Slipped in Q4

By: Jennifer Saba

Newspaper Web site traffic is falling month-over-month, according to new figures provided by the Newspaper Association of America. The association today published the latest Q4 data for newspaper Web sites provided by Nielsen Online. The number of unique users declined when comparing October (73.2 million uniques) to November (72.3 million uniques) to December (70.3 million uniques).

The average time spent per person during the course of the month was mixed during the quarter. In October, the average time spent was 34 minutes and 14 seconds. In November, it was 32 minutes and 44 seconds. In December, it was 34 minutes and 52 seconds. Total sessions and page views decreased month-over-month.

The NAA pointed out that on average for Q4, 72 million people visited newspaper Web sites — more than one-third of all Internet users. That figure, however, shows that newspapers Web sites have stalled reaching new Internet users. In Q4 2008, 41% of all active Web users visited newspaper Web sites — though there was a heavy political news cycle in Q4 2008.

The NAA did not provide quarterly year-over-year comparisons because it was not statistically valid: In June 2009, Nielsen greatly expanded its panels. According to the NAA, the “audience figures reflect Nielsen’s introduction of its new methodology, part of an effort to provide a significantly larger sample size, which allow more newspaper Web sites to be reported with greater depth and granularity.”

For directional purposes, 68.9 million people visited newspaper Web sites in October 2008, while 69 million visited newspaper Web sites in November 2008. In December 2008, newspaper Web sites attracted 66.6 million uniques.

Full audience figures for newspaper Web sites can be found here.

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