Newspaper Site Visits Up 12.3% In 1Q, Rev Growth Down
Page views were up 5%, from a total 8.96 billion in the first quarter of 2007 to 9.4 billion in 2008. In terms of monthly averages, the figure grew from roughly 2.99 billion to 3.13 billion. The unique visitors and page-view figures are the highest recorded since the NAA began tracking them in 2004.
However, the average time spent per person dipped slightly, from about 45.6 minutes in the first quarter of 2007 to 44.3 minutes in the first quarter of 2008. Average visits per person were also down slightly, from 8.39 to 8.28.
The growth in Internet audience is a welcome boost for an industry that is losing readers on the print side, but overall online revenues remain a small part of the business for most publishers. That spells bad news, as the rate of growth in online revenues is also slowing, suggesting it won't offset the print revenue losses anytime soon.
For example, Internet revenues at The New York Times Company's News Media Group grew 8.6% in January 2008--down sharply from 26.2% in January 2007, while February held steady at 14%. (At press time, the company's first-quarter results were not available. They are due to be announced today.) McClatchy also saw a slowdown in online revenue growth in January.
For the full year 2007--the most recent period for which figures are available--Internet revenues made up 10% of The New York Times Company's total revenues, and just 6% of McClatchy's.
Revenue growth has been slowing for some time. For the newspaper industry overall, online grew 18.8% in 2007, compared to 31.5% in 2006. This represented a slowdown in dollar terms as well, as online added $500 million in 2007, versus $630 million in 2006.