I regularly report radio ratings, so I thought I’d attempt the more dangerous task of ranking local media websites.
Somewhat like radio’s Arbitrons, these ratings measure the share of the local audience looking at a particular site, within the universe of 50 or so local news sites I provided.
The data comes from Experian Hitwise, and is based on visits from people within the Minneapolis-St. Paul “designated market area,” or DMA. In other words, local people visiting local sites.
A few caveats before we get to the rankings, which I plan to update monthly.
Experian Hitwise buys data from Internet Service Providers like Comcast, so the data is directly measured, though it’s not complete. (You might use an ISP Experian Hitwise doesn’t purchase data from, or get your digital information some other way.)
Also, unlike radio ratings, these only measure visits, not time spent on-site. They also don’t measure page views, how well the sites perform for advertisers, or if a site’s content is viewed on another domain (like YouTube).
Finally, the company gave me a Top 20 from my dataset. I might have missed a few; the non-listed are at the bottom of this post. Feel free to chime in with any I missed (I accidentally omitted K102). This is the shakedown cruise, and I’m sure I’ll have to make some tweaks. Disputations welcome in the comments.
OK, the numbers!
Let’s just say the Strib dominates the local ratings in a way radio stations can only dream about. WCCO is the top TV station, KQ wins the web-radio race, and you have to go all the way to #14 to find a shop without legacy-media ties (us).
The four TV stations combined can’t match the Strib’s visits, but two of them beat the Pioneer Press. The biggest radio surprise — for me anyway — is that women-talker MyTalk 107 ranked 12th but KFAN didn’t make the list at all. And the suburban newspaper chain ThisWeekLive made it but rivals Sun Newspapers didn’t.
The Top 20, by the way, accounts for 98 percent of all visits to the Top 50. I have some numbers about local traffic to national sites, but I’ll pass that along later.
Here were the other sites I asked to be reviewed:
Newspapers: Minnesota Daily, Downtown Journal, Southwest Journal, Onion Twin Cities, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, Minnesota Sun newspapers.
TV: The CW.
Radio: WLTE, JACK, WCCO, KAN, KDWB, KTLK, The Patriot. (Again, I’ll add K102 to the list and possibly update.)
Magazines, Mpls.St.Paul, Minnesota Monthly, Metro.
Websites: BringMeTheNews, Secrets of the City, Momslikeme, The Uptake, Twin Cities Daily Planet, Minnesota Independent.