In September, sites related to sports, prime time TV, and education dominated the Web as the month marks the start of the fall television season -- while education-related sites, from information resources to computer software providers, also shine as students seek resources for the new academic year. The sports category also soars, thanks to the September stretch run in baseball and kickoff to football season.
"As summer fades and fall begins, Americans shift their focus back to school and take comfort in their TVs as season premieres and fall sports dominate the tube," said Jack Flanagan, comScore executive vice president. "With nearly half of the U.S. online population visiting television sites in September, it is clear that more than ever before, Americans are turning to the Web for entertainment."
The beginning of the fall season sent Americans to TV sites for information on their favorite shows or to view episodes online, as the category grew 17% to 95.6 million visitors.
Yahoo TV led the category with nearly 20 million visitors -- up 63% -- followed by AOL Television with 13 million -- up 7% -- and NBC Network with 11.4 million. CWTV grabbed the Number 10 position with 5.8 million visitors, nearly tripling its audience since August.
Information sites grew 15% to 72.3 million visitors, making it one of the fastest-growing categories in September, led by Pearson Education with nearly 17 million visitors -- up 40% -- Hot Chalk with 13 million visitors -- up 64% -- and Classes USA with 8 million visitors -- up 13%.
The Computer Software category grew 14%, attracting 34.4 million visitors in September, led by Intuit, which grew 18% to 6.4 million visitors. Symantec Store followed closely with 6.2 million visitors -- up 11% -- while Wareseeker.com ranked third with 3.7 million visitors -- up 76%.
Between the approaching Major League Baseball playoffs and the NFL season kickoff, sports were top of mind for many of Americans in September. The category reached an all-time high, attracting more than 98 million visitors -- 14% versus August.
Yahoo Sports ranked number one with 38 million visitors during the month -- up 32% -- followed by ESPN with 29 million visitors -- up 21% -- and NFL Internet Group with 19 million visitors -- up 19%.
Still, Google sites ranked as the number one property in September with 165 million visitors, followed by Yahoo sites with 160 million visitors and Microsoft sites with 133 million visitors. Facebook.com held its number 5 ranking with 95 million visitors, while ESPN climbed 9 spots to number 30.
Meanwhile, AOL Advertising led the September Ad Focus ranking, reaching 91% of Americans online. Yahoo Network ranked second -- reaching 89% of the population -- followed by Google Ad Network with an 86% reach.