Comscore Media Metrix Announces Top 50 U.S. Internet Property Rankings for September 2004
RESTON, Va., Oct. 15, 2004 – Comscore Media Metrix today released its monthly analysis of consumer Internet behavior. This month’s report revealed that the kickoff of the fall television season drove substantial traffic increases at both network sites and television content provider sites, such as AOL Television and MSN Television. In addition, Oprah’s heavily publicized Pontiac giveaway landed Oxygen Media, which includes Oprah.com, in the number one position on this month’s ranking of the top gaining properties.
Other highlights of online behavior in September include:
“Traffic increases this month highlight just how vital the Web has become in American life,” said Peter Daboll, president and CEO of Comscore Media Metrix. “Whether it’s students using the Internet for school research, voters staying informed during the presidential race or TV fans following their favorite program online, the ubiquity of the broadband-enabled Web has profoundly changed the way we seek out entertainment and consume information.”
Kickoff of Fall Television Season Drives Millions to TV CategoryWith the kickoff of the fall television season, 57 million Americans – more than a third of the Internet population – visited the TV category in September. This represents an increase of 7.6 million visitors, or 15 percent, versus August – more than twice the August-to-September increase recorded last year by the TV category.
Increases at nearly every major site helped the TV category land the top spot in the ranking of top gaining categories in September. While UPN.com is the smallest network site in terms of audience size (833,000 visitors), it drew by far the largest increase between August and September – more than 170 percent. Visitation to the site is also up nearly 200 percent versus September 2003. Similarly, TheWB.com drew half as many visitors as did CBS.com, ABC.com and NBC.com, but it posted an above average increase of 68 percent between August and September. Fox.com drew the third-largest increase among the six major networks (60 percent), while CBS.com and ABC.com jumped by 28 and 27 percent, respectively. NBC.com, which had unusually high levels of traffic in August as a result of Olympic coverage, declined by 7 percent in September.
Among portals and other TV-related information providers, AOL Television and MSN Television posted the largest gains, each closing the month 65 percent higher in September than in August. Yahoo! TV and TVGuide.com also generated impressive gains of 36 and 20 percent, respectively.
Oxygen Media, which includes Oprah.com, jumped 122 percent, largely as a result of Oprah’s highly publicized giveaway of Pontiac G6 automobiles to each of her audience members. As Comscore previously reported, Oprah.com received more than 200,000 visitors per day at its peak. Pontiac.com also benefited from the promotion. In September, 842,000 users visited the site, an increase of 56 percent versus the prior month.
Back-to-School Usage Boosts Information and Resource SitesWith the academic year now in full swing, reference and information sites saw substantial increases as students turned to the Web for help with homework and research. The Education-Information category, which includes About.com’s Homework Help channel, the Family Education Network and Yahoo! Education, was this month’s second-largest gaining category. Nearly 38 million people visited Education-Information sites in September, an increase of 14 percent versus August.
A number of reference sites were among this month’s top ten gaining properties. Wikipedia.org, the free online encyclopedia, drew just over 3 million visitors in September, an increase of 61 percent from the previous month. Encyclopaedia Britannica also benefited significantly from student traffic, posting an audience increase of 37 percent compared to August. Lexico Publishing Group, which runs Reference.com, Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com, saw a 40-percent bump in traffic to close the month with 6.5 million visitors. In total, traffic to the Reference category increased by 8 percent, making it the 9th-largest gaining category in September.
Bush Takes the Lead from Kerry OnlineNearly 2.5 million Americans visited GeorgeWBush.com in September, an increase of 44 percent versus August. In the past ten months, the race between President Bush and Senator Kerry has been as closely contested online as it has been offline. While JohnKerry.com drew 2.2 million visitors in September, a modest increase of 5 percent versus August, GeorgeWBush.com saw a substantial pickup in visitation, landing the site ahead this month by a margin of less than 250,000 visitors. In total, 18 million people visited the Politics category in September 2004, more than a 50 percent increase versus a year ago.
Turbulent Hurricane Season Drives Storm Trackers OnlineIn September, millions turned to sites in the Weather category to track this year’s highly active hurricane season. Nearly every site in the category posted increases, including The Weather Channel (15 percent increase vs. August), Weatherbug.com (10 percent) and AOL Weather (9 percent). An increase in traffic of more than 140 percent to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration helped land the Department of Commerce in the number two spot in the ranking of top gaining properties. The increase at the Department of Commerce was enough to push the entire Government category up by 7 percent, ranking it at number 10 in this month’s top gaining categories standings.
While this year’s hurricane season has no doubt been a boon for weather sites, the category has seen a steady increase in traffic over the past year. Compared to last year, the Weather category is up by more than 30 percent. The increase is particularly pronounced among home users (38 percent increase vs. year-ago). This trend is driven primarily by increased broadband adoption, which has helped to make checking the weather online a simple, daily ritual for millions of home users.
Top 50 PropertiesThe composition and rank order of the top 5 properties remained static from August to September, while 2 properties moved up to grab the final spots in the September top 10. Two live virus updates drove a 62-percent increase in visitation to Symantec, which in turn fueled an 8-spot increase to land Symantec at number 9 in September’s ranking. The busy hurricane season also drove almost 4 million more Americans to The Weather Channel in September than in August, helping the property jump 2 spots to lock in the final position in September’s top 10. An increase in visitation of 109 percent to the Department of Commerce (driven by the NOAA) was the largest gain by any property in September’s Top 50. The Department of Commerce moved from a ranking of 68 in August to number 22 in September.
The start of the NFL season provided a boost to the NFL Internet Group, which went from number 50 in August to number 33 in September; the 17-spot gain was the largest of any property ranked in the Top 50 in both months. Increased interest in sports and hurricane coverage at USAToday.com contributed to a five-spot climb for Gannett Sites, which landed at number 23 in September. Buoyed by a month-long promotion at HGTV.com, E.W. Scripps gained 10 spots to edge into the Top 50 at number 48.
Top 50 Ad Focus RankingComscore Media Metrix’s ranking of advertising-supported media brands includes media properties, such as Yahoo! and MSN, as well as advertising networks, such as Advertising.com and TribalFusion. Instead of focusing on corporate ownership, this reporting mirrors, as closely as possible, the manner in which advertising is actually packaged and sold. With this ranking, media planners and buyers can more easily evaluate interactive marketing options on an equal footing.
The composition and rank order of the top 4 Ad Focus entities remained the same from August to September, while ValueClick Media jumped 6 spots and almost 6 million visitors to claim September’s number 15 ranking. The unprecedented hurricane season, combined with increased election coverage, led to increases at AOL News, CNN News and Yahoo! News – each of which gained more than 6 spots to finish in September’s Top 50 Ad Focus Ranking.
Comscore Announces Enhancements to Reach/Frequency ToolComscore Media Metrix is the only audience measurement service to track and report on advertising networks. With the release of September data, Comscore is pleased to announce the integration of advertising networks into the company’s Campaign Reach/Frequency tool. For the first time ever, media planners can now compare both advertising networks and traditional Internet properties side-by-side. This capability allows planners to comprehensively evaluate online media alternatives and develop strategies to more efficiently and effectively reach their campaign goals.
The Comscore Media Metrix Reach/Frequency tool is used by dozens of leading advertising agencies. The report allows for comparative analysis of online media plans, site-by-site and channel-by-channel. Media planners can analyze reach and frequency measures based on targeted impression levels for user-specified target audiences. The tool allows users to determine if a targeted number of impressions at a given set of sites will meet the reach, frequency and GRP objectives for the target audience.
Comscore tracks and reports on the following advertising networks:
*Ranking based on the top 250 properties in September
**Indicates that the entity is an advertising network.
About Comscore Media MetrixComscore Media Metrix, a division of Comscore Networks, provides industry-leading Internet audience measurement services that report – with unmatched accuracy - details of online media usage, visitor demographics and online buying power for the home, work and university audiences across local U.S. markets and across the globe. Comscore Media Metrix continues the tradition of quality and innovation established by its Media Metrix syndicated Internet ratings - long recognized as the currency in online media measurement among financial analysts, advertising agencies, publishers and marketers - while drawing upon Comscore's advanced technologies to address important new industry requirements. All Comscore Media Metrix syndicated ratings are based on industry-sanctioned sampling methodologies.
About Comscore NetworksComscore Networks provides unparalleled insight into consumer behavior and attitudes. This capability is based on a massive, global cross-section of more than 2 million consumers who have given Comscore explicit permission to confidentially capture their browsing and transaction behavior, including online and offline purchasing. Comscore panelists also participate in survey research that captures and integrates their attitudes and intentions. Through its patent-pending technology, Comscore measures what matters across a broad spectrum of behavior and attitudes. Comscore consultants apply this deep knowledge of customers and competitors to help clients design powerful marketing strategies and tactics that deliver superior ROI. Comscore services are used by global leaders such as AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Verizon, Best Buy, The Newspaper Association of America, Tribune Interactive, ESPN, Nestlé, Bank of America, Universal McCann, the United States Postal Service, GlaxoSmithKline and Orbitz. For more information, please visit www.comscore.com.
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