HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Newsonomics: BuzzFeed and The New York Times play Facebook’s ubiquity game
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Dec. 18, 2008, 7:03 p.m.

Registration down, RSS ads still rare on big U.S. newspaper sites

Newspaper websites became a whole lot easier to read in 2008. Just 11 of the top 100 American newspapers require readers to register with a username, password, and other data before viewing at least some content, according to a new survey by The Bivings Group. That’s down from 29 newspaper sites in 2007.

The changes may have gone unnoticed because 4 of the top 10 newspapers — The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, and Arizona Republic — still require some form of registration on their websites. (Oddly, Bivings ranks newspapers by print circulation. While the Republic is 10th in print, it’s 22nd in web traffic. Maybe because the paper compels its readers to register before they can leave comments on the site?)

Registration can be useful in customizing websites and collecting data for advertisers, but users mostly just find it annoying. Newspaper sites once embraced the technique, and registration actually rose from 23 of the top 100 in 2006 to 29 in 2007, according to Bivings. That trend appears to have completely reversed itself.

TechCrunch and ReadWriteWeb have already posted quality summaries of the report, and you can read the full, 28-page PDF here.

Pretty much everything you need to know, however, is found in this chart. Video is universal, podcasting is waning, and mobile is on the rise — just like the rest of the web. Newspaper sites have also largely embraced comments (75 of the top 100) and bookmarking sites like Digg and Delicious (92).

One web trend that didn’t extend to newspapers in 2008 is advertising on RSS feeds — which isn’t new but went mainstream in the last two years as several popular websites began running ads in their feeds. Google’s Feedburner service began offering ads this year as well.



Still, just one newspaper site in the top 100 runs advertising on its RSS feeds, according to Bivings. I can’t confirm that it’s truly just one, but if so, it’s The Washington Post, which runs unobtrusive Google ads on some items in its main feed. They’re not particularly useful but not annoying, either, and it’s a little bit of extra revenue for the Post Company. Seems like a no-brainer for other newspapers to follow suit.

POSTED     Dec. 18, 2008, 7:03 p.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Newsonomics: BuzzFeed and The New York Times play Facebook’s ubiquity game
The ubiquity game has different rules for digital startups than for legacy businesses. But for both, figuring out the right relationship with Facebook is key to their audience strategies.
Jeff Israely: Good content marketing benefits from a smart publisher’s touch
Our startup correspondent, building Worldcrunch in Paris, on the thinking behind its operation’s pivot: “The smart brands know they’ll lose your attention if they use this new publishing power simply to push their merchandise.”
How a hobby foreign affairs blog became a paywalled news destination — and a business
World Politics Review has grown from one man’s side project to a small news operation supported by a niche paywall.
What to read next
2481
tweets
Millennials say keeping up with the news is important to them — but good luck getting them to pay for it
The new report from the Media Insight Project looks at millennials’ habits and attitudes toward news consumption: “I really wouldn’t pay for any type of news because as a citizen it’s my right to know the news.”
926The next stage in the battle for our attention: Our wrists
News companies have moved from print dollars to digital dimes to mobile pennies. Now, with the highly anticipated launch of the Apple Watch, the screens are getting even smaller. How are smart publishers thinking about the right way to serve users and maintain their attention on smartwatches?
729A wave of distributed content is coming — will publishers sink or swim?
Instead of just publishing to their own websites, news organizations are being asked to publish directly to platforms they don’t control. Is the hunt for readers enough to justify losing some independence?
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Conde Nast
Kaiser Health News
Current TV
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Associated Press
Newsday
GlobalPost
National Journal
National Review
The Daily Show
Time
The Fiscal Times