“Old” Media Dominate Top 50 Websites? Why?

by PR Coach

Rush Hour Traffic

Why is web traffic so huge from “old” media?

If “new” media is so powerful, why did “old” media still score well in the comScore Media Matrix November listings for highest traffic websites?

SEO expert Bill Hartzer’s article Top 50 USA Websites for November 2010 tweaked my interest. He reported the comScore results and noted holiday shopping sites were driving results at this time of year.

I decided to group the top 50 websites into five categories including: “old” media; search; “new” media; shopping; and technology/social media websites. The information provided some interesting PR and marketing implications.

What stood out for me were:

  • The strength of “old” media in the digital environment (15 websites, 751,102,000 unique visits)
  • Fast-growing strength of “new” media properties often made up of many small niches grouped together; for example, Glam Media and CafeMoms Network
  • New media traffic driven strongly by shopping sites; for example, Trails.com or Mommy and lifestyle sites. In some ways, many small new media sites collectively appeal to niches and provide content around which shopping and advertising are a big part. Not that old media don’t too.
  • Powerful reach and traffic of the big “search” properties remained (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Ask Network, Wikipedia, Answers.com, Craigslist) with seven sites and 813,232,000 unique visits.
  • The high traffic in retail sites was evident on Amazon, Apple, eBay, Wal-Mart, Target, Disney Online, Best Buy, Sears with nine sites and 435,294,000 visits.
  • Traffic was also high on the technology/social media sites (including Facebook, AOL, Technorati) with seven sites and 423,240,000 visits.

These top 50 sites generated a total of 2,930,320,000 unique website visits in the US in November. That’s still impressive! It surprised me that “old” media still had 25.6% of these internet visits. What’s important for PR and marketing professionals is that old media are adapting to and delivering large audience through traditional and new digital channels.

That’s a good reminder to always target old and new media. It won’t be long before we stop thinking in terms of “old” vs “new” media.

Here’s a quick rundown of the numbers showing the website property and the number of unique website visits in Nov 2010.

“Old” Media Show Well in Top 50 Websites
15 websites, 2,930,320,000 unique visits

The “old” media showed quite well. By their numbers alone, they remain influential. Traditional media included CBS, The New York Times, Fox, ESPN, The Weather Channel and Condé Nast. Most of these old media also “get” new media and have substantial assets and investment in their internet properties. While the profits may not be there yet on the Internet side, the combination positions them very well for profitability in the future.

In several cases, inclusion in this old media section could be debated but I wanted to put properties in logical groupings to illustrate some of my key observations on the top 50 listings. Comcast was included here because of its significant cable TV assets; the NFL because it is broadcast on TV and cable.

CBS Interactive 88,017,000 [TV, news, entertainment, sports]  
Turner Digital
86,452,000 [TV, entertainment]  
Viacom Digital
81,710,000 [TV, entertainment, digital]  
New York Times Digital
72,280,000  [newspaper, publishing]
Fox Interactive Media 69,184,000 [TV, news, entertainment]
Comcast Corporation* 49,019,000 [cable, internet]
ESPN 43,129,000 [TV sports]
Gannett Sites 39,851,000  [USA Today, TV, internet]
YellowBook Network 39,635,000  [Yellow Pages]
The Weather Channel 37,891,000  [TV]
Scripps Networks Interactive Inc 30,371,000  [TV, lifestyle media]
Superpages.com Network 29,891,000  [Yellow Pages]
Tribune Interactive 29,628,000  [newspaper, TV, radio]  
Conde Nast Digital
27,806,000  [magazine, digital publishing]
NFL Internet Group 26,238,000  [sports]  

Search, Reference Sites Find Numbers
7 sites, 813,232,000 visits

These are your mega search, utility websites. I included Craigslist here, though it could be argued it also fits in “old” media like Yellow Pages. Judgment call. Here because it doesn’t print a paper.

Yahoo! Sites 180,987,000
Google Sites 178,726,000
Microsoft Sites 175,731,000
Ask Network 92,369,000
Wikimedia Foundation Sites 77,773,000
Answers.com Sites 57,926,000
Craigslist*  49,720,000

New Media Properties Strong, Growing Fast
12 sites, 507,452,000 visits

Most new media groups are aggregations of small properties that become significant when brought together. In this way, they leverage their niche or specialties such as health, lifestyle, music, technology, etc. Take a look through some of these media groups and see how they bring their assets together. There are some fascinating stories and significant properties and influencers to learn about. PR and marketing people need to follow this growth carefully.

Glam Media 89,864,000 [1,400 style, fashion, lifestyle niche publishers]
Demand Media
64,831,000  [niche content: eHow, Trails.com, golflink]
VEVO 57,760,000  [music, video merchandise]
NetShelter Technology Media 45,819,000 [technology media]
Federated Media Publishing 38,708,000  [large independent niche media]
Break Media Network 37,314,000 [Men’s, tech, video]
iVillage.com: The Womens Network 33,045,000 [women’s, health, food]
Alloy Digital Network 31,695,000 [youth]
WeatherBug 28,304,000
Six Apart Sites 26,997,000
Everyday Health 26,575,000  [health, diet, wellness]
CafeMom Network 26,540,000 [Moms, lifestyle]

Shopping Sites Rack Up Sales
9 sites, 435,294,000 visits

Not much explanation needed here. New and old retailers were revving up for Christmas sales. I included Adobe here because it sells products.

Amazon 83,875,000
Apple 69,896,000
eBay 68,441,000
Wal-Mart 51,817,000
Target 39,777,000
Adobe*  34,982,000
Disney Online 29,928,000
Best Buy 28,805,000
Sears 27,773,000

Technology & Social Media Website Talk Big
7 sites, 423,240,000 visits

The AOL, AT&T, Verizon inclusion needs explanation as each could also fit elsewhere in my groupings. I included AT&T and Verizon for their wireless network although cable could fit in the “old” media segment. While it could be included in the search/reference or “new” media groups, AOL has significant social media, so I made a decision to include it here.

Facebook 151,722,000
AOL*  114,484,000
Technorati Media 42,714,000
AT&T Interactive Network*  30,111,000
WordPress 29,250,000
LinkedIn 28,470,000
Verizon Communications Corporation*  26,489,000

All in all, it’s a fascinating study. Social media will continue to grow as will the so-called “new” media. This bears watching by PR and marketing pros. But the power of traditional media remains particularly potent when introduced into social media channels. It’s a powerful and influential combination that we can use to tremendous advantage.

Holiday Wishes

We’ll be taking a break between Christmas and New Years and I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season with family and friends. Thanks for all your support of the new website and I hope 2011 will be a wonderful year of growth and success for you all!

Editor’s Note: A reader named Liz kindly pointed out a key error in an earlier version of this post. Previous calculations for the total of “old media” web traffic and percentage of top 50 website total unique visits were incorrect. The corrected numbers appear in this revised post. The post premise still applies – that old media still generate impressive traffic – 25.6% of top 50 unique visits. Let’s hope they can hang on in the future.

Author:  Jeff Domansky is Editor, The PR Coach

Photo Credit: Trey Ratcliff via Flickr

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