Facebook is also dominating the Web in a way that Google never has. While Google owns Web search, and extraordinary monetization machines in AdWords and AdSense, Google does not dominate when it comes to Web audiences' attention measured in time spent and pages viewed. In that area, Facebook rules. Facebook reportedly now represents one-fourth of all pages views on the Web. Wow!
So, the king of the Web must be the king of all media? Not so fast. Facebook is certainly a massive media property, but it's not yet ready to go toe-to-toe with major TV networks. According to comScore, Facebook attracted more than 151 million unique users in the U.S. in the month of October, and those visitors stayed on the site for more than 42 billion minutes. Nothing else on the Web comes close.
However, as I learned from David Poltrack, chief research officer of CBS, during his presentation at the UBS Media & Communication Conference, CBS attracted almost 240 million viewers in October, who spent 210 billion minutes watching CBS programming. Yes, CBS is five times bigger than Facebook. As I learned last week from Jack Wakshlag, chief research officer at Turner Networks , during his presentation at the IGNITION Conference (yes, I do attend a lot of conferences): if Facebook was measured as a TV network, it would be comparable in size to PBS. PBS? Yes.
I know. I know. Facebook is growing at much faster rates than TV networks. Facebook is dynamic. Facebook is interactive. Yes, Facebook is very special. It is reshaping the Web and may reshape media and communications. However, I think it's important that we don't lose perspective of things, particularly when it comes to understanding relative scale between the old and new. China has an extraordinary, fast-growing economy, but it is still much smaller than the U.S. economy. Facebook is very, very big and growing fast, but it's still a PBS when it comes to TV network scale.
Am I being too harsh in pointing out that a site that generates one-fourth of all of the Web pages viewed in the U.S. is still only one-fifth the size of our largest TV network? What do you think?