Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Newspaper Web sites still dominant, but ...

The latest report from The Media Audit says local papers have the leading Web sites in 74 of 81 metro markets this company regularly surveys. And while the company makes much of saying "the picture has changed substantially," the numbers provided are a bit squishy.

The only ones the release provides say that in 2001, 30 dail papers and four TV stations attracted to their sites more than 20 percent of the adults in their immediate market. Today, that's 55 newspapers and seven TV stations, according to Bob Jordan, president of International Demographics Inc., the market research company behind The Media Audit. Do the math, though, and that's 88 percent in both cases for newspapers.

But what has changed, says Jack Sheridan, a spokesman for International Demographics, is "the audience size that television has attracted in addition to the newspapers."

"Television is just not the laggard it was," he said. The good news: So far it's not a zero-sum game. "Nobody has even exhausted potential growth," Sheridan said. "It's still a wide-open game."

The message for journalists to take away, I hope, is that when things are competitive and wide-open, there is a tremendous chance for good journalism to step up and show what is possible and to attract site traffic. This means going beyond shovelware.

To show just how tight it can get, look at my own market, Columbia. According to a report from last June/July, 28.6 of those who logged on visited the Web site of The State, the local paper. Close behind was WIS-TV at 24.6 percent. The latest report says that among adults, The State attracts 22 percent and WIS 21.2 percent.

This isn't surprising. Both sites are good, but neither is overly distinguished. Both are getting better, with more video and more interactive features (though the video quality on WIS, which is a World Now site, continually fails to impress).

Journalist need to take note. What have you done today to make your paper's Web site better and more competitive?


Later in the day, Borrell Associates released its latest Web revenue report.

The summary:
  • Newspaper sites brought in nearly $1.2 billion last year, a 47% increase over 2003. The average share of local online advertising for a newspaper Web site was 18.1%.
  • TV stations saw their online revenues grow 59%, to $119 million. The average per-station revenue equated to 44 cents per TV household, and the average share of online ad spening was 1.5%.
  • Radio stations zoomed forward in 2004, nearly doubling their online ad revenue, to $34 million. The average per-station revenue ranged from $8,232 to $73,765, depending on market size. The average per- station share of local online ad spending as less than 1%.

    At 11/11/05, 8:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    You are exatcly right Mr. Fisher..The online revenue has become so large that more companies are targeting their consumers online rather then other method of advertising..its cheap and also benefits them more.


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