Star Tribune corrects self on MPR reporting

Shaping up like MPR day in this corner …

On Monday, several of us questioned the web-traffic numbers in the Star Tribune’s story on Minnesota Public Radio. The paper reported that MPR and MinnPost were “neck and neck,” with MPR having 251,000 page views and 67,000 unique users, according to Nielsen NetView.

I can tell you, that shocked even those of us on the Hometown Team: we’re plucky, but were we really matching the public-radio behemoth’s much-promoted web site?

Sure enough, the Strib corrected itself Wednesday: “ averages about 4.3 million page views a month and 180,670 unique users a month, based on Nielsen’s NetView service.”

Page-view-wise, they were only off by a factor of 17 — and no, I don’t think any anti-MPR conspiracy was afoot, even though board chair Mike Sweeney ripped Bill Kling’s operation in print and at Monday’s Future of News forum. Mistakes happen, as my regular readers know, and corrections are no fun.

For what it’s worth, our guys assert our Nielsen stats are low, too, but not that low. We’re currently at about 820,000 monthly page views and 233,000 unique users, according to Google Analytics. Page view-wise, that’s not close to MPR, and Google Analytics is not Nielsen. Still, I’d encourage our side to vet our Nielsens too, even though we don’t subcribe to the service.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Annalise Cudahy on 11/18/2009 - 09:16 am.

    There is no one good source of traffic numbers that includes all newspapers, online venues, AND smaller blogs all the way down the line. However, we can see orders of magnitude and perhaps something a bit finer in the mix.

    Newspapers have a distinct advantage as a “brand”, but their online traffic is still awfully small compared to their print circulation. If you look at how many people’s lives are affected by any one outlet, no one touches the Strib.

    MPR, as you’ve shown, has pretty a good following on the air. Their web visitors also don’t even come close to the number of people that hear MPR news, good as they are.

    I haven’t cared about teevee nooze for a long time, but I assume that they still have a huge audience compared with anyone except the Strib and Pioneer Press.

    You guys, along with MNIndy, are doing OK – not great, but considering that you are building a new brand in one medium only, it’s not bad. It’s clear that for all the hoopla not many people receive news only from online sources.

    Smaller “outlets” for news and commentary have tiny readership, and I include myself in that. Probably because I have a free hosting service, I don’t even have accurate compete or quantcast scores to show you – but alexa is close, strangely.

    For all the hoopla about the ‘net, there is no evidence to suggest that anything other than Quality/Relevance times Volume of stories still rules when it comes to having a large audience and a decent influence over the lives of Minnesotans.

    The Strib has nothing to complain about. If they feel their built-in advantage is slipping away, it’s because they are squandering it.

  2. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/18/2009 - 10:10 am.

    Mr. Hare makes a very good point. Which is that a higher percentage of MPR fans are tuned in and perhaps not “clicking in” I have grand children in college that listen to the web “radio stream” of the Current as they prefer that station over the local choices offered in their two opposite coast college communities.

    Although I tune in occasionally, I do find the MPR website very helpful when I choose to download a program and listen to it later on my phone or Ipod.

    Eric is also correct sbout the opportunity that media has to either learn how to co-op the new media or to fritter it away.

  3. Submitted by Paul Scott on 11/18/2009 - 10:16 am.

    What on Earth are 4 million people doing on the MPR web page? I wish them well, but I can’t seem to find very much to keep me around very long.

    Surely it’s the audio streaming?

  4. Submitted by Karl Pearson-Cater on 11/18/2009 - 11:07 am.

    All media sites should get “Quantified” on is. I don’t see the downside, and the upside is that then everyone can compare apples to apples rather than apples to cement in regards to traffic.

  5. Submitted by Joel Kramer on 11/19/2009 - 05:55 am.

    I agree with Erik that there’s no reliable way to compare Internet traffic across the whole range of sites.

    We don’t see Nielsen because we don’t subscribe. The first set of numbers mentioned by the Strib for MPR and MinnPost seemed strange to me, but the new numbers for MPR seem equally so. 4.3 million page views on only 180,000 uniques?

    According to Alexa, Minnesota Public Radio has about 60% more page views than MinnPost. Since I know we have about 800,000 page views, that would put MPR’s page views at around 1.3 million.

    According to Compete, MPR has more than double our uniques, but only one third more visits than MinnPost (i.e. our visitors return more often). I can’t get a page view measure there.

    As Karl said, Quantcast would provide the most reliable comparison, if MPR agreed to be quantified.

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