Average time spent per visit decreased for more than half of the top 30 global news websites in May compared to last year, according to the latest Nielsen data. The trend mirrors the drops seen at the top newspaper sites.
The biggest gains came from two non-traditional news sources. Google News upped the average time spent on its site to over 22 minutes, a gain of over ten minutes from May 2008. Similarly, the average visitor stayed on the Huffington Post for about 15 minutes, an increase of more than six minutes.
However, new media were not immune to losses. AOL News saw a drop in visit length of 11 and a half minutes, to 24 minutes, the largest drop of the top sites. Fox News Digital Network also experienced a significant decline, down over ten minutes to 32:39.
Another notable loss came from MSNBC Digital Network, with average time spent decreasing to 21:40 from 29:00. MSNBC.com was named the number one US news site in terms of the amount of traffic it receives, but it clearly isn't matching that success in other areas.
As with the survey of individual newspaper sites, the data is not all depressing for old-school print and broadcast. Many newspaper chains managed to support modest gains, among them Tribune, Gannett, Hearst Digital, New York Post Holdings and Cox.
Other sites where US visitors are increasing the time they spend include the BBC and the Slate Group websites.
Moreover, the gains at sites like Google News and HuffPo do not necessarily spell disaster for traditional news outlets. Presumably visitors continue to use the former to link through to other sites. And while HuffPo performed better than many of the other news sites, it still lags behind the top destinations like NYTimes.com and MSNBC.
Source: Editor & Publisher