Nate Silver Accounted For 20 Percent Of NYT’s Web Visits On Monday
TUESDAY NOVEMBER 6, 2012
Nate Silver's polling analysis has been both manna for political junkies and a lightning rod for criticism from conservatives during the 2012 campaign. A new report out Tuesday indicates that it's also been a major driver of the New York Times' web traffic.
According to The New Republic, Silver's blog "FiveThirtyEight" accounted for an eye-popping 20 percent of the Times' online visits on the eve of Election Day — or to put it another way, "one in five visitors to the sixth-most-trafficked U.S. news site took a look at Silver’s blog."
The Times does not release traffic figures, but a spokesperson said yesterday that Silver’s blog provided a significant—and significantly growing, over the past year—percentage ofTimes pageviews. This fall, visits to the Times’ political coverage (including FiveThirtyEight) have increased, both absolutely and as a percentage of site visits. But FiveThirtyEight’s growth is staggering: where earlier this year, somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of politics visits included a stop at FiveThirtyEight, last week that figure was 71 percent.
More from TNR:
According to Alexa, a Web information company, “538” is the eighth-most searched-for term that led visitors to the Times last month. And over the previous month, it grew more than any other referral term; other increasingly relevant terms were “nate silver” and “538.com.” Notably, no other Times staffers or brands appear on Alexa's lists of top referral terms or rising referral terms.
One thing not remarked upon in the "The Media Hates Nate Silver" thread - it's not just because he's a voice of rational analysis against their horse-race punditry. It's because he's legitimate economic competition, and part of the ongoing shift towards online news rather than watching local and cable shows.
Why would you waste your time watching a CNN / Fox News / MSNBC 24/7 for the state of the presidential race when you can obsessively refresh the 538 blog and get links to 20 different polls, with constantly updated statistics and analysis?
Nate Silver's blog apparently can draw 6 million page visits a day - far outstripping the ratings of any cable news show. That's eyeballs and ad revenue going to an online website rather than a cable show. Nate Silver is taking money from the news' networks pockets, and providing information to the public at a fraction of the cost (without on-air talent, camera crews or pretty graphics with sound effects). So yeah, if I were a pundit whose job depended on keeping people's attention and having them listen to my uninformed opinions rather than a nerd with a website, I'd hate him too.
People will still tune into TV for live events and updates (e.g. the election coverage tonight), but for news and actual analysis of the day's events, audiences will continue to shift towards online news sources. How many of us here get their news from a broadcast anyway, instead of from a nytimes.com, or even from a forum that aggregates news and links like Datalounge?
And the New York Times has to know it's got a good thing with Nate Silver and that he's a money-maker for the company - he was apparently pissed when its managing editor called him out on trying to place a bet with Joe Scarborough.
[quote]an eye-popping 20 percent of the Times' online visits on the eve of Election Day — or to put it another way, "one in five visitors . . ."
Thanks for clarifying.
I'm actually surprised its ONLY 20%. I would have expected much, much higher.
R3 = Joe Scarborough
R3, that may be because Nate Silver's blog is only one page, while the rest is divided into individual articles, sections, etc.
A single reader can click on 20 different pages in a browsing section (across news, real estate, health, etc.) but only visit 538 once. So yeah, the 20% figure of all page views is still remarkable to me, and obviously it should be to the Times as well.
Nate Silver is going up in the world, and if Obama wins tonight, and wins by the margin Nate is predicting, that boy is going up in the world!
Today I was adding up pundit predictions and it finally dawned on me that 538 refers to the total number of electoral votes up for grabs.
Ironically, Silver is the only pundit whose prediction added up to 535.