Newspaper web audiences jumped 16% in the 3rd quarter

by Jason Preston on November 3, 2008

According to the Newspaper Association of America, these are good times for newspaper web sites (or at least, they would be if newspapers could figure out how to monetize them).

A recent study shows that web audiences increased by leaps and bounds in page views and other engagement metrics over last year:

According to a custom analysis by Nielsen Online for the Newspaper Association of America, newspaper web sites attracted more than 68.3 million unique visitors on average (41.4% of all Internet users) in the third quarter of 2008, a record number that reflects a 15.8% increase over the same period a year ago,

In addition, newspaper Web site visitors generated an average of just over 3.5 billion page views per month throughout the quarter, an increase of 25.2% over the same period a year ago (2.8 billion page views). These figures are the highest for any quarter since NAA began tracking the data in 2004.

The raw numbers from 2008 and 2007 are pretty impressive:

I’m sure some of it has to do with the economic climate and the election—news always does better when there’s a lot of important stuff going on—but this is a great opportunity for newspapers to be honing their web experience and attracting new users.

Now it’s time to start selling CPM ads and reaching down the long tail towards local, small-time advertisers to back-fill a nearly limitless ad inventory.