NYTimes Winning The Online Newspaper Battle?

With all the talk about the death of newspapers, this bit of data, buried in this Howie Kurtz piece on how awful Politico is, surprised me:

Politico's online readership nearly doubled during the campaign, from 2.4 million unique visitors in January 2008 to 4.6 million in October. Last month, according to Nielsen Net Ratings, it dipped to just over 3 million. By comparison, nytimes.com has bounced back almost to its October level of more than 20 million, while washingtonpost.com declined during that period from 12.4 million to 9.4 million.

(Emphasis supplied.) nytimes.com is doing October 2008 numbers? That's pretty impressive. I wonder what is behind it. The prominence of business stories? Wouldn't that drive traffic to the WSJ? Or has Murdoch's ownership really damaged the WSJ brand? I can't judge by my reading habits because I scour the Times every day, several times a day every day.

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    Do you think? (none / 0) (#1)
    by jbindc on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 09:25:51 AM EST
    That other websites that cover mostly political news also saw a spike last fall and have since returned to "normal" numbers?  People can go to nytimes.com to get more than political news.

    Have the rates gone up for delivery of the NYT? Maybe that's why more people are turning to online reading?

    They had a huge bump during the campaign (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 09:35:31 AM EST
    and went down significantly afterwords. This site included.

    what is striking is the Times is HOLDING its October level of audience.


    And (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by jbindc on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 09:40:29 AM EST
    and went down significantly afterwords. This site included.

    And, people who only care about politics for the horserace don't need to read political sites. Plus, many commenters here were banned and others who weren't banned, but saw many good commenters banned, left this site.


    Well (none / 0) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 09:42:06 AM EST
    That's a different issue. The fact is as one would expect, after the campaign, traffic went down uniformly across the spectrum, except it seems, at the NYTimes online.

    I suspect it's driven (none / 0) (#21)
    by oldpro on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 01:34:51 PM EST
    by the many bloggers like yourself who routinely read/follow NYT articles and columnists and post with links which your readers followup.

    The economy and Krugman have engendered much of that activity, I'll bet.


    Funny thing..... (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by NYShooter on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 05:00:06 PM EST
    I was surfing the Times the other day, and the thought struck me what a treasure the NYT really is. I remember, years ago, the editors/publishers were so sure of their accuracy, and proof-reading, they offered some kind of prize to anyone who could find a grammatical, spelling, or factual error in their pages.

    I know we all like to throw mud at old institutions, and Lord knows, The Times has given us plenty of reasons to criticize it over the past decade or so. So I was I scrolling down a page (I forgot what section it was) and saw the term, "The Great Depression." I clicked on the link, and an entire encyclopedia of depression era articles unfolded. Story after story; there must have been a hundred or so, told from ever view and vantage point imaginable, were there for the asking. It would take a Talmudic scholar's perseverance to read the many volumes dedicated to just this one topic. And that's the point, it was just one topic.

    Every single day the Times churns out what has to be greatest compilation of relevant and factual articles and stories ever put into a single periodical. It is just really amazing how much stuff the paper crams into its pages day after day after day after......


    Well (none / 0) (#4)
    by jbindc on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 09:39:07 AM EST
    Maybe more people realized they liked reading the paper online and it was more convenient?  I get the WaPo every morning.  I take part of it to work  - so I can do the crossword.  But if I want to read something, I usually go to the online version.

    And now, my parents have an online subscription to the Detroit Free Press because it, along with The Detroit News is only printing papers a couple days a week - the rest of the week is only online, so if you want to read a daily paper in Detroit, you have to be online.

    I don't think this is a blip - this is the wave of the future.


    So then the question is, will the all-imp. (none / 0) (#8)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 09:42:20 AM EST
    ad revenues follow on the web?

    Good question (none / 0) (#11)
    by jbindc on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 09:53:49 AM EST
    I'd hope revenues will increase (none / 0) (#15)
    by andrys on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 10:21:24 AM EST
    I have, for half a year, subscribed to the NY Times Latest News, which sends the latest news to me about 3 times a day, to my Kindle.  It costs $2/mo. to get this and though I could browse the site with the Basic Web browser on the Kindle or get a free feed fed to it once a day for free, this is the best $2/mo. I've spent.

      The stories are generally extremely well-written, and they handle stories other newspapers find too boring, such as the plight of older (ex)employees who we know are having a very tough time of it but we get a better look at the reality of it for individuals.  The article on how dangerous cancer treatment is for early or even later prostate cancer sufferers was another one. And I don't think many papers covered in detail the Pritzker Prize going to Peter Zumthor.

      Amazon is a company that's one of the few who did relatively well during the last 5 months.  Today they're in a bit of a firestorm that started on the Net yesterday and has to do with quietly deciding certain books should be removed from Bestseller lists and not be findable on the search engine.  You might guess what types of books were involved.  And you can imagine the reaction, which started with a Twitter post, and one petition seeking 1000 signatures now has 9,000.

      I followed that from the beginning through this morning, and those who might be interested can read the details and the most informative links I could find, which are being updated all the time.




    NYT has a really nice iPhone app (none / 0) (#2)
    by ruffian on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 09:30:39 AM EST
    I have no idea if that has anything to do with their success, but I use that every day, whereas I don't look at any of the other news sites every day.

    I was thinking the same thing (none / 0) (#26)
    by Learned Hand on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 06:12:09 PM EST
    NY Times has a great blackberry app that I read all the time. Haven't seen something similar from anyone else.

    That Howie Kurtz column is funny (none / 0) (#6)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 09:41:37 AM EST
    Do you think he'll criticize the cable nets for doing on TV pretty much the same thing that Politico does online?

    He does (none / 0) (#10)
    by waldenpond on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 09:52:50 AM EST
    I remember one show where he was criticizing cable coverage and was sure to point out his own network was doing it and presented clips and he then accused himself and showed his clips.

    Interesting (none / 0) (#12)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 09:55:20 AM EST
    That probably has something to do with the fact that Eric Alterman has been after him about his conflict for years.

    nytimes (none / 0) (#9)
    by CST on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 09:52:11 AM EST
    is trying to shut down the globe.

    I'm p*ssed.

    WSJ as a newspaper helped promote the mentality behind the financial crisis.  Not surprised it is out of favor right now.

    NYT is losing mucho $ - and BostonGlobe even more (none / 0) (#16)
    by andrys on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 10:24:03 AM EST
    Reality has to set in.  People can accept lower salaries with benefits kept or shorter hours for a set period rather than have no jobs at all, which is more than scary in times like this.

    yes i know (none / 0) (#20)
    by CST on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 12:15:08 PM EST
    I am still p*ssed.  

    I believe they will agree to a number of the concessions - I hope they do.  I just don't like people playing hard-ball with my daily news.


    It could be (none / 0) (#13)
    by eric on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 10:08:07 AM EST
    that the Times is actually doing a better job.  Good format, reliable news coverage, the best op-eds, etc.  That is my opinion, fwiw.

    Let's just put it this way (none / 0) (#14)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 10:10:42 AM EST
    I lived in Washington, D.C. for 4 years and never really took to reading the Post.

    Its editorial content is vastly inferior to the Times's.


    The Times (none / 0) (#17)
    by Lahdee on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 10:49:49 AM EST
    has some interesting options such as Times Extra (this feature has linked to BTD posts), Most Popular and the International Edition experiment, which appears to have ended, that add to the richness of information available to readers.

    A reader might even click on the ads occasionally to show their support for such an improving product.

    The Times is the paper of record (none / 0) (#18)
    by vicndabx on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 11:25:30 AM EST
    and now, it's probably the news site of record.  I know someone in publishing who told me a number of years ago, paraphrasing, "the problem w/the internet is you don't know where the information comes from."  While a whole host of sites have great reporting, I suspect there's a great deal of fact-checking of stuff against the gray lady online.

    Could Be (none / 0) (#19)
    by squeaky on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 11:38:15 AM EST
    That many set their browser to the NYT as an opening page. Several people I know do that. It has the greatest brand name recognition at this point, and got an early start on the online biz.

    Stupid move for them to move into a new building, imo.

    I live in DC and I read the NYTimes. (none / 0) (#22)
    by Joelarama on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 04:20:07 PM EST
    It is far from perfect, but it is the best paper out there.  As for the online experience, the Times' site is straightforward and elegant.  The Post's site feels like an online iteration of USA Today.

    Though I read it online, I get the Times in paper form solely because I want to put pen-to-paper when I do the crossword.

    I rarely read Washington Post.  The only section of the Post that holds a candle to the Times is federal political coverage.  The arts sections stink.  The Post barely covers local news.  The Food section has only one good writer -- David Hagedorn, who writes only monthly.  And who is better than the Times' Mark Bittman?

    Consolidation, of a kind? (none / 0) (#23)
    by huzzlewhat on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 04:39:40 PM EST
    I would imagine that the Times is gaining some readers who once read the Rocky Mountain News and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and such ... most of the newspapers that have shut down in the past three years (it's a bloodbath) have been and regional, but those readers have to look somewhere. I suspect the Times benefits from its high profile when readers of a defunct paper are looking for a replacement.


    I've been a reader of both papers for years (none / 0) (#25)
    by shoephone on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 05:12:10 PM EST
    The P.I, for twenty-five and the NY Times for at least thirty. I doubt the Times is gaining any old P.I. readers they didn't already have. Instead, former P.I. readers are simply suffering from a lack of good, local reporting, now that the new P.I. online is such an embarassment.

    But things may be looking up: Word has it that a group of the P.I.'s print journalists is getting set to launch its own Seattle Post Globe website tomorrow. Considering the caliber of some of those involved, I'm pretty sure the new site is going to blow the current P.I. online aggregator out of the water.