27 November 2009

The curious drop

Take a break from all the kerfuffle in the universe and take a look at some interesting statistics on two local media websites that anyone can find using Google trends.

These are 2008 daily unique visitor figures for vocm.com and thetelegram.com.


These are the 2009 figures for the same sites.

locals2009 Now if you can’t quite pick out those numbers, be assured that they have dropped. The Telly website has dropped from an average of over 3,000 unique visitors per day to something around 2,000 by rough estimate while at VOCM, the daily traffic has dropped by about half.  It’s gone from over 6,000 unique visitors per day to as few as 3,000 in early October.

For those who don’t know, the Telly is the province’s major daily newspaper.  VOCM is the flagship of Steele Communications.  The company is the province-wide commercial radio entity, operating both AM and FM outlets across the province.

Now without access to listener data for VOCM or more current daily subscription data for the Telegram, it’s hard to know if this is unique or part of an overall pattern of decline in audience. 

In 2008, the Telly was showing about 22,000 paid subscribers each the weekday and 41,000 for the Saturday edition. The company axed its Sunday edition in 2008 and at the time of its demise, the Sunday paper was pulling no more readers than the weekday editions.  That may have boosted the Saturday numbers somewhat subsequently but it would still be a far cry from the 60-odd thousand and more the Telly used to print a decade and more ago.

Things are not any better at the Mother Corp.  The figures below are for the main cbc.ca site, not the local version, but the numbers are not encouraging either.

ceeb08At the national level, the mighty Ceeb is having a bit of a problem of its own.  It’s online audience has fallen from somewhere around 150, 000 uniques a day down half that much or less in 2009 (below.   ceeb09

Now there’s no big analysis here.  This is just one of those things your humble e-scribbler noticed in passing and then filed away to think about. That’s the way online writing actually happens:  it’s a work in progress and many times thinking evolves over time.  If it really works people can bring ideas to the table, and in the mix of discussion new ideas emerge.

That’s really one of the big strengths that online writing on current affairs has over all traditional media.  It really can become much more of a collaborative experience or a shared experience of discovery and understanding. 

Maybe that’s where this will lead, to an examination of the local media websites and the impact online writing has had on some aspects of local news media.  Maybe it will lead somewhere else.

In any event,  this is some of the curious information that sometimes pops up.  What it means will be something for another day.