June 08, 2010

comScore, Inc. released a report of the top U.S. online newspaper groups based on the comScore Media Metrix service. The newspaper category represents the first site category for which each of the top ten ranked entities has transitioned to the comScore Media Metrix 360 (Unified Digital Measurement) methodology.

The report showed that more than 123 million Americans visited newspaper sites in May, representing 57 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience, as the New York Times Brand led the category with more than 32 million visitors and 719 million pages viewed during the month. The average visitor viewed 22 pages of content on the New York Times, also leading the top ten. Tribune Newspapers ranked second in terms of audience with 24.8 million visitors, followed by Advance Internet (18.1 million visitors) and USA Today Sites (16.8 million visitors).

“The good news for publishers is that even as print circulation declines, Americans are actually consuming as much news as ever – it’s just being consumed across more media,” said Jeff Hackett, comScore senior vice president. “The Internet has become an essential channel in the way the majority of Americans consume news content today with nearly 3 out of 5 Internet users reading newspapers online each month. As news evolves towards a more digital model, the issue is not attracting the eyeballs, but rather demonstrating the true value of those eyeballs to advertisers. As advertising rates for digital move closer into line with those of traditional media, the economics of the news business should begin to look a lot more promising.”

Online Newspapers Attract High CPM Rates from Advertisers

comScore’s Ad Metrix service shows that among the top site categories where display ads appeared in April 2010, online newspapers accounted for 2.4 percent of impressions but a higher 6.7 percent of display advertising dollars. The average cost per thousand impressions (CPM) on online newspaper sites was $7, higher than each of the other top site categories and nearly three times the average CPM for the total U.S. Internet at $2.52.

“Online newspapers represent premium inventory for advertisers,” added Hackett. “comScore research conducted last year for the Online Publishers Association showed that visitors who are exposed to display ads on news sites are more likely than average to visit the advertiser website, are heavier online buyers and tend to have higher household income. Online news publishers are also leading the way in the use of newer display ad formats, which are aiming to create a richer, more engaging experience for consumers.”

In particular, online newspapers have demonstrated significantly faster adoption of the new OPA ad units. While these units currently account for just 0.06 percent of all display ads delivered online in the U.S., they account for 0.43 percent of ads on newspaper sites, or seven times higher than average. Notably, the Fixed Panel 336 x 860 unit is the most popular unit being used on newspaper sites among the new OPA units at a rate 35 times higher than average.

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