Jun 21, 2008

More readers, less money

Ten of the 30 most visited media Web sites are owned by newspapers, according to Nielson Online. Drudge Report, which is the first stop for many readers, including reporters, tops the list.

The top newspaper company is Gannett, owner of USA Today, followed by the New York Times. Others on the list include Media General Company (Richmond Times-Dispatch, Tampa Tribune, etc.), The Minneapolis Star Tribune and Hearst (San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, etc.).

Newspaper sites attracted a total of 64.3 million unique visitors. And yet they still haven't found the magic formula for making substantial profits on those hits.

MediaNews Group, the fourth largest newspaper chain in the country, dropped off the top 30 list. There's no explanation why. Perhaps it's due to the runaway success of other sites, or maybe readers are getting tired of the pop-up ads that slow page loading or the ads that cover the top third of the site but just won't close no matter how hard I click my mouse. Buggy blogs in the SoCal area probably didn't help either.

Notes to Denver: Web site redesign should be a priority; busy, flashy, incessant ads detract from the content and drive away new readers; and local papers should have more flexibility to tailor their sites to a local audience.

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