57% of U.S. Net Users Visit Newspaper Sites
123 million Americans -- representing 57% of a total 215.7 million U.S. Internet users -- visited a newspaper Web site in May, according to the latest figures from comScore Media Metrix, which provide rankings of newspaper Web sites by traffic, and generally confirm similar findings from Nielsen.
However, the strong performance in terms of Web traffic merely highlights newspapers' continuing failure to monetize their online audiences effectively.
Overall, The New York Times led the pack in terms of visitors and impressions -- attracting 32 million unique visitors who viewed 719 million pages in May, averaging about 22 pages per visitor over the course of the month.
Next up was the Tribune Newspapers group, which attracted a total 24.8 million unique visitors; Advance Internet came in third with 18.1 million visitors, while the USA Today site attracted 16.8 million. The Washington Post drew 16.7 million, McClatchy Corp. 14 million, and MediaNews Group 13.4 million.
The comScore figures are even more promising than recent data from Nielsen, which found that newspaper Web sites drew an average 74.4 million visitors in the first quarter of 2010, equaling 37% of all U.S. Internet users. That's up from 72 million in the first quarter of 2009.
The data also covered CPMs for newspaper Web sites in April. Newspaper sites charged an average $7 per thousand impressions in April -- almost three times the average Internet CPM of $2.52 that month.
But even with these relatively premium online advertising rates, newspapers still aren't able to monetize their online audiences at anywhere near the rate of their declining print products.
Although second-quarter figures are not yet available, in the first quarter, newspaper Web sites brought in $730.4 million in online ad revenues, according to the Newspaper Association of America, representing 12% of total newspaper ad revenues of just under $6 billion.
That's down from a first-quarter peak of $804 million in 2008. In proportional terms, online's percentage of the bottom lines has increased, but only because of the steep decline in print revenues.