The fight for world domination

Editors Weblog at the World Association of Newspapers notes that the Guardian now has a bigger audience online than the vaunted New York Times:

With 18.4 million users in October, the Guardian was ahead of nytimes.com, which registered 17.5 million users in the same period, according to Nielsen / NetRatings. This was a record for both sites, as The New York Times’ user pool grew due to the shutting down of TimesSelect, and the Guardian launched Guardian America. Considering these recent results, the Guardian seems to be winning its bid to become the referential international news site. Guardian Unlimited’s US readership was already very strong before the launch of Guardian America. And US readers are reportedly drawn to the British online editions.

Here I speculated on the impact on products and operations of once local or national news brands going international. This also raises questions about business strategy — it’s not easy selling advertising around the world. But the race is indeed on: Who will lead at least the English-speaking universe?

(Disclosure: I write and consult for the Guardian. So I’m rooting for them.)

Also: I found this clip via the still-in-beta journalists’ bookmarking service, Publish2.com from Scott Karp (and disclosure: I’m on the board there so I’m rooting for him, too. You’ll soon be there, too.)

LATER: Guardian writer Bobbie Johnson in the comments and another Guardian colleague in the email say that the Editors Weblog is comparing apples and kumquats here; the stats are not equivalent. It’s still great growth and impressive size for both and the international question is still fascinating. But the sun still does set on the British empire. For now.

  • Garbanzo

    There are enough problems with comparing sites in the US based on notoriously flawed panel-based website analytics. Comparing two sites with primary audiences in two countries likely being counted by two different methodologies (or even firms) impugns the credibility of this claim. Show me in-house analytics reports that back this up and that’s a different story.

  • http://www.guardian.co.uk Bobbie Johnson

    Disclosure: I work for the Guardian

    I don’t even think this is an analytics issue (though web analytics are notoriously ropey). The actual problem with this argument is that it’s based on two different data sets.

    The Nielsen figures for the NYTimes are US-only, while the ABCe figures for the Guardian are international totals. As it goes, the Guardian draws – if I remember correctly – around a third of its audience from the US, meaning the comparative figure is actually either 17.5m (NYT) v 6m (approx for Guardian) or 18.4m (Guardian) v whatever NYTimes.com gets overall (I can’t find a reliable indicator for that).

    Regardless, it’s interesting to note that if those figures are correct, the Guardian is the fourth biggest newspaper site in America. Only the NYT, USA Today (9.4m) and Washington Post (8.7m) are ahead. The WSJ and LA Times both get 5.8m American readers, according to Nielsen.

    http://icanhaz.com/news

  • http://bloggasm.com/the-guardians-website-has-more-visitors-than-the-new-york-times Simon Owens

    I thought it odd too that they were using two different metric systems to compare traffic, though for some reason it didn’t click with me that the Nielsen figures are US-only.

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  • http://www.bookwormhole.net Joseph Davidson

    I starting reading the British press online during the run-up to Iraq war, because the American press, including the New York Times fell flat on their faces, accepting Bush’s transparent lies at face value. The Brits gave us another perspective. I still look overseas for more balanced news.

  • http://shootingbynumbers.com peter

    poor show all round. The Guardian is a totally biased left-wing rag. Case in point: continued promotion of harrowing anti sex-slave videos from feminist harridan Emma Thompson with absolutely no room for the slave traffickers to present their side of the story.

  • Jon

    The sun never sets on the British empire – God doesn’t trust the British in the dark.

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  • http://fasterfuture.blogspot.com David Cushman

    I think all these kind of metrics count for very little in a networked world. Surely its not the number of unique users you have – that is a very simple broadcast way of measuring the value. It’s more important to understand how connected those users are – how much they are contributing rather than consuming content, creating mash-ups of ideas etc. Measures which captured something of this would tell me which brand offered more value.

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  • http://apple-balm.blogspot.com Franklyn Leverson

    have a gut feeling that you could possibly be right.