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Blog Traffic Triples at Newspapers' Web Sites

Blog traffic at the top 10 online newspapers more than tripled in December compared to the same period a year earlier, according to Internet market research firm Nielsen//NetRatings.

Online newspapers saw interest in blog pages grow by 9% during this period, rising from 1.2 million viewers in December 2005 to 3.8 million in December 2006. Unique viewers overall for online newspaper sites increased from 27 million to 30 million.

"The blogging arena is a good opportunity for online newspapers to really leverage assets they already have," said Carolyn Creekmore, senior director of media analytics at Nielsen//NetRatings. "And by that I mean their staff writers, their expertise in certain arenas. If you think of it from a marketing perspective, it also allows direct communication with their consumers and their staff, which always a good thing, to engage folks that way."

The online audience at these newspapers is disproportionately male -- 60% are men and 40% women. Among readers of blog pages, the statistics are even more out of balance, with 66% men and 34% women. Creekmore attributes this to a male proclivity for being early adopters of technology and content preferences.

"In general, the news category in the top newspapers will skew slightly male to begin with," said Creekmore. "And in the blogging arena, we're seeing that a little more emphasized. But I think that depends largely on the type of content. If there's more lifestyle or entertainment focused blogging within this blog section of a newspaper, you may get that female presence more than you might in a sports section, for example."

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