TV Stations Vs. Newspapers in Local Web Traffic (Some Win)

Among local mass media, newspapers are usually credited with taking the Web seriously before others like TV and radio stations did. With an earlier start, newspapers bore both pioneers’ scars but also moved up the learning curve before broadcasters. But broadcasters are finally beginning to take digital media seriously, as they search for incremental revenue sources and watch advertisers following their audiences into digital media. One proof point is that we’re seeing some TV stations beating local newspapers in monthly Web traffic.

Internet Broadcasting Systems recently blogged about its new “IB Local Index,” which is a monthly analysis of comScore data for TV station Web sites and their competitors in the top 50 local markets. In its analysis, IBS reported not only growth in TV station Web site traffic, but also that a handful of stations are outperforming their local newspaper Web sites by 3:1 or more.

In our look at the Internet Broadcasting report, we added our own data and analysis to find that of the 14 TV stations beating their local newspapers in monthly Web traffic (unique visitors), 10 are owned by companies that also own newspapers (in other markets).

We also found that nine of the competing newspapers are owned by companies that also own TV stations (in other markets); only five of the TV stations outperforming their local newspapers are the top billing stations in their markets; and that Hearst owns six of the newspaper beating TV stations. No other TV group owns more than one of the other eight stations.

This post was written by BIA Chief Strategy Officer Rick Ducey, who will be making regular contributions to the blog.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Arul Sundaram

    Rick – thanks for the mention. We didn’t go into ownership groups, but you’re note about Hearst is dead on. One other correlation I think is important is to the strength of TV station. We haven’t completed that analysis yet, but we do know that TV viewership and strong on-air promotion of the website is a key driver for site visitation. As your note indicates, we’ll be delivering regular analysis of this topic.

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