The number of visitors to the ten most popular newspaper websites in the US shows an annual increase of 16%, while the total number of visits increased by 27%, announced the online measurement company Nielsen Online.
"Despite the current problems in the traditional newspaper industry, more and more people are visiting newspaper websites," Chuck Schilling, the company's director of research, told AFP.
"Today's challenge for newspaper publishers is to learn how to capitalize on this online readership and translate their growing revenue share."he said.
Nielsen data show that the number of visitors to the ten most popular e-newspapers in the United States rose to 40.1 million in December, an increase of 16% over the same period in 2007.
Despite the significant financial problems they are facing due to the crisis, the New York Times remains the most popular newspaper on the Internet. The readership of the online version increased by 6% on an annual basis and reached 18.2 million users in December.
In second place is USA Today with an increase of 15% to 11.4 million unique users. The Washington Post came in third with 12% and 9.5 million unique users, followed by the Los Angeles Times with 73% and 8.0 million users last December.
Out of the ten most popular, the only newspaper that saw its online visitors decrease is the Boston Globe (6% decrease to 4.1 million unique users).
Still, Nielsen data show that users are reading e-newspapers more and more regularly. The average number of visits in December was 6.3 times per month, compared to 5.8 visits per month in December 2007.
The average time spent by users on each visit increased marginally (2%) to half an hour.
However, despite the increase in traffic, the websites of the newspapers still lag far behind the number of users in relation to the major web portals:
According to Nielsen, Google remained the most popular online destination in December with 133.8 million unique visitors from the United States. They are followed by Microsoft with 126 million and Yahoo with 118 million.