Press Room

Web Traffic To Top 10 Online Newspapers Grows 16 Percent Year-Over-Year In December, According To Nielsen Online

Reader Sessions Increase 27 Percent

NEW YORK, NY January 26, 2009 – Nielsen Online, a service of The Nielsen Company, today reported a 16 percent year-over-year increase in unique visitors to the top 10 newspaper Web sites, growing from 34.6 million unique visitors in December 2007 to 40.1 million in December 2008. NYTimes.com was the number one online newspaper destination in December 2008, with 18.2 million unique visitors. USATODAY.com and washingtonpost.com took the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, with 11.4 million and 9.5 million unique visitors, respectively (see “Table 1: Top 10 Newspaper Web Sites for December 2008 (U.S., Home and Work)” in Full PDF Download version of press release).

“Nine of the top 10 newspaper Web sites experienced positive year-over-year growth,” commented Chuck Schilling, research director, agency & media, Nielsen Online. “News coverage in December ranged from how the 2008 holiday season would be affected by the weakening economy to Obama’s latest nomination for his administration, all of which helped to drive this impressive growth.”

Online Newspaper Readers Visiting More Frequently
Not only are more people visiting newspaper Web sites, but they are also visiting these sites more often than they were a year ago. The number of total visits to the top 10 newspaper sites increased 27 percent year-over-year, growing from 199.6 million in December 2007 to 252.7 million in December 2008 (see “Table 2: Total Sessions/Visits to the Top 10 Newspaper Web Sites in December 2008 (U.S., Home and Work)” in Full PDF Download version of press release).“Despite the current troubles for the traditional newspaper industry, people are visiting newspaper sites more and more often to stay on top of current events,” said Schilling. “The challenge for newspaper publishers today is to learn how to capitalize on this active online readership and translate their increasing engagement into revenue.”

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Nielsen Online also reported December 2008 data for the Top Parent Companies/Divisions and Top Web Brands. (See “Table 3: Top 10 Parent Companies/Divisions for December 2008 (U.S., Home and Work)” in Full PDF Download version of release).

Example:  The data indicates that 55.2 million home and work Internet users visited at least one of the Facebook-owned sites or launched a Facebook-owned application during the month, and each person spent, on average, a total of 2 hours, 7 minutes and 58 seconds at one or more of their sites or applications.

The parent level is defined as a consolidation of multiple domains and URLs owned by a single company or division. The brand level is defined as a consolidation of multiple domains and URLs that has a consistent collection of branded content. (See “Table 4: Top 10 Web Brands for December 2008 (U.S., Home and Work)” and “Table 5: Average U.S. Internet Usage, Combined Home & Work, Month of December 2008” in Full PDF Download version of release).