How successful are Village Voice Media’s online properties at capturing their local audiences? It seems safe to assume that print is down a bit across the board. So, which VVM properties are showing the most success at becoming the must-visit sites in their communities.
The data below comes from Compete.com. Stats such as page views or visitors tend to be heavily under reported, but when viewed relative to other similar sites still have some value:
The flagship site in New York City is definitely the big dog. CityPages.com, at #4, seems to be out-performing other sites within the VVM network considering the size of Minneapolis/St. Paul vs other markets VVM is in.
Here’s a look at year over year growth of each property:
A few of the larger sites drop back when measured by growth. Perhaps they’re bumping up against their market potential? From this perspective, CityPages.com’s story is less clear. They’re 2nd to last among VVM properties in annual growth, beating out a site that actually lost traffic in 2008.
In CityPages.com’s case, my theory is that the online competition has grown significantly in the past year with the addition of MinnPost (news, politics, arts, and media meltdown coverage), Minnesota Independent (politics), Metromix (what’s happening around town, concert and even photos), and Camacho Watcho (restaurant reviews), and Because Emily Says So (hilarity).
I had a chance to discuss this theory with CityPages editor, Kevin Hoffman. He confirmed that CityPages’ growth is within the ballpark of what Compete.com reports (Compete’s estimate is a bit low). Hoffman said that he doesn’t view some of the new sites mentioned above as competitors and doesn’t see local media as a zero sum game. For example, many people read all of the sites mentioned above. Hoffman stressed that this is especially the case when it comes to advertising. I tend to agree with that since some of those sites run no ads and some have done little more than throw Google AdSense onto their pages.