Friday, 16 May 2014

NY Times loses 80m homepage views in 2 years. Shock? Not at all but very interesting as to why.

Interesting piece on The New York Times online.

Seemingly, according to BuzzFeed who've sight of internal documents, they've lost 50% of their homepage views - 80 million in two years.

Crisis? No....rather than a loss of readers, perhaps what we're seeing is the move away from homepages and possibly, here is a reason why.

News is no longer the destination read and what's delivering news readers is referral traffic - from Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Reddit and so on. So people are getting their news when it's sent to them - they're not going looking for it.

So when they see something of interest say on Twitter, they click that link and it brings them to the specific page and NOT via the homepage. The readers are only looking at stories that interest them - snacking - rather than the "news in full". So the notional idea that I read a paper online from front to back, might be changing.

Homepages are institutional, whereby Social Media reflects the readers interests.

So readers are looking to be entertained as we know and so only read the stuff they find interesting. Audience analysis by publishers as to what's being read, might confirm this trend and they may find that their homepage traffic is in demise whereas overall, their numbers are still holding up.

Interesting for advertisers too who are paying premiums to be on the homepages....

But perhaps important to publishers too, to drive their stories by links on Social Media, although they do that, but this may need more focus to deliver views. 

So the Social Media aspect of publishing is becoming more important.

They might, for example, keep tweeting the popular stuff. And the headline on the Social Media link to the story, will be key.

Perhaps the way we're reading news is changing and perhaps an interest in "general news" is declining as such. It's not a commentary but just an interesting development to note.

I don't believe the NY Times have lost readers - they've just lost readers on their homepage landing page. So news needs to adapt to that.

One day too, we'll get the point where we send relevant news to the relevant people rather than to everyone en masse. 

The Internet is a one-to-one medium, not one-to-many.