by LeeAnn Prescott
The market share of visits to the top 10 News and Media websites
declined by 3.8% from March 2006 to March 2007, indicating that news
consumption is beginning to fragment as users expand their range of
news sources to non-traditional news websites.
Search engines, portal frontpages, and news aggregators
were the leading sources of traffic to News and Media websites in March
2007. The share of visits to News and Media websites from search
engines increased over the past year, with traffic from Google
increasing by 29.7% for Print websites and 35.9% for Broadcast Media
News and Media Landscape
In March 2007, there were 8,001 websites within the News and Media
industry, which accounted for 3.31% of all US Internet traffic, or 1 in
30 Internet visits. The market share of visits to the News and Media
industry declined slightly year-over-year, from 3.43% of all US visits
in March 2006.
At the same time, the number of websites ranking within the industry
increased by 12.25%, from 7,128 websites in March 2006. This concurrent
decline in market share and increase in number of websites could
indicate that the industry is fragmenting as users discover new
Figure 1: Market share of US visits to industries, March 2006–March 2007
In March 2007, the top 10 News and Media websites, as shown in
Figure 2, accounted for 28.13% of visits to the industry. This
represents a decline of 3.8% from March 2006, when the top 10 websites
accounted for 29.24% of industry visits, again pointing to the
fragmentation of online news consumption.
The websites comprising the top 10 in the News and Media industry remain unchanged since March 2007, with the exception of Fox News replacing BBC
News in the #10 spot. Yahoo! News was the top ranking News and Media
website, and showed an increase in market share of 18.15% from March
2006 to March 2007.
Figure 2: Top 10 News and Media websites by market share of US visits, March 2007.
Sources of News and Media Industry Traffic
Internet users navigate to News and Media websites in a variety of ways.
Hitwise Clickstream data reveals that there are three major sources of
traffic to News and Media websites: news aggregators (such as Yahoo! News, Google News and Drudge Report) search engines, and portal frontpages (such as Yahoo!, My Yahoo! and MSN). The balance of traffic from these three sources varies by sub-category, as shown in Figure 3 below.
Figure 3: Sources of US upstream traffic to News and Media sub-categories, March 2007.
The Print sub-category received 23.26% of its upstream visits from
search engines in March 2007, and 64.1% of this search traffic (14.9%
of total upstream traffic) came from Google, while 17.27% came from
Yahoo! Search. The share of traffic from Google to Print websites
increased by 29.7% from March 2006 to March 2007, and increased by
35.9% for Broadcast Media websites.
This could be a result of Google more aggressively showing Google News
listings, which link directly to broadcast and print news sources, in
the main search results at the top of the page for news-related
searches. In addition, it has been reported in the past year that many
News and Media websites have made a concerted effort to drive traffic
from search engines through search engine optimization and marketing.
Search engines were an important source of traffic for IT Media – particularly sub-category leader Digg.
Digg was the #1 ranked website in the IT Media sub-category in March
2007, accounting for 12.14% of industry visits, and it received 54.51%
of upstream visits from search engines in that period.
The Broadcast Media sub-category received the largest share of
traffic from Portal Frontpages in March 2007, primarily due to the
relationship between MSN and MSNBC.
MSN was the leading source of traffic to the Broadcast Media industry,
accounting for 12.49% of upstream visits in March 2007, and MSNBC
accounted for 64.91% of all the Broadcast Media traffic leaving the
Portal Frontpages industry.
Portals have remained steady as a source of traffic
for News and Media websites over the past year, as Internet users
continue to use personalized portals as a starting point for daily news
continue to play a leading role in the news industry, not only ranking
among the most visited News and Media websites, but also serving as a
significant source of upstream traffic to Print and Broadcast Media
websites. As a group, the three news aggregators listed in Figure 3
were responsible for 4.79% of traffic to Print websites and 4.54% of
traffic to Broadcast Media websites in March 2007.
Print news websites were more dependent on Google News and Drudge Report
as sources of traffic, with Google News accounting for 1.99% of Print
upstream visits and Drudge Report accounting for 2.1%. Yahoo! News,
which publishes articles from Print websites directly on its own
website, was a less significant source of traffic to the Print
IT Media websites, with their distinct content focus, were less
dependent on traffic from news aggregators, although IT Media received
1.18% of its upstream traffic from Google News, indicating that
followers of IT News were more likely to use Google News than other news aggregators.