News websites avoid August doldrums to reach record Web traffic

Fishbowl NY | Forbes | Guardian | Mediaite

August is traditionally thought to be a slow news month, and overall Web traffic has sagged more than 14 percent in Augusts past.

But something about this past month (Olympics? The RNC? Hurricane Isaac?) pushed many big news websites to record-high Web traffic.

Drudge Report: "THANKS FOR MAKING AUGUST '12 THE SINGLE BIGGEST MONTH IN DRUDGEREPORT'S 17 YEAR HISTORY!," says the site's Facebook page, which reports 943 million pageviews last month from around the world.

The Atlantic: "All three of The Atlantic’s digital brands —, and — posted record-setting numbers in August. grabbed 10.8 million unique visitors," Fishbowl NY reports.

Newsweek/Daily Beast: "August was a record setting month for Newsweek/The Daily Beast. The site 'will close out [the month] at over 15 million uniques / 118 million page views,'" Fishbowl NY reports, citing a Tina Brown memo. "We hit record traffic of 33 million unique users."

Daily Mail: "Mail Online is expected to post record-breaking traffic figures for August ... more than 100m unique browsers last month," the Guardian's Roy Greenslade reports.

Mediaite & Co.: Mediaite says it hit a record 7.47 million unique visitors in August. It and seven other sister sites under Abrams Media reached a record 17 million total visitors.

This could be a fluke, but August 2011 was big for news sites, too. There was Gadhafi's ouster, Hurricane Irene, London riots, the D.C./Virginia earthquake, and Steve Jobs' resignation. Maybe it's time to retire the conventional wisdom about no-news-August.

Related: The growing influence of real-time data on the media business (CJR)

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    Jeff Sonderman

    Jeff Sonderman is the deputy director of the American Press Institute, helping to lead its use of research, tools, events, and strategic insights to advance and sustain journalism.


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