US newspaper Web sites drawing more visitors"”survey

The Web sites of US newspapers are now attracting almost a third more visitors than they were a year ago, according to research quoted by an AFP report.


The AFP report, quoting a Nielsen/NetRatings survey, said newspaper Web sites averaged more than 55.5 million visitors a month in the first half of 2006, a 31% increase over the 42.4 million visitors over the same period a year ago.


The research was commissioned by the Newspaper Association of America.


The AFP report also said surveys by Scarborough Research further found that newspaper Web sites had helped increase total readers, combining print and Internet editions, by 15% for 25-34 year-olds and 10% in the 18-24 year-old age range.


'It shows newspapers' efforts to grow their online audiences is paying off,' Randy Bennett, the organization's vice president of audience and new business development, told AFP.


Total page views for the Web sites also increased by 52% during the first half of 2006 and in July, 35% of all Internet users visited a newspaper Web site, a 27% increase from July 2005, the research found.


'In markets across the nation, newspaper Web sites are providing a strong draw for younger demographics,' the association said in a statement.


Newspapers worldwide are battling to maintain readers and advertising income faced with competition from Web sites and 24 hour news channels, with most evolving their traditional operations to open alternative revenue streams, the AFP report said.