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Who's on top?
How does your news organization’s website rank nationally? Globally? Having precise information about where your organization stands in the virtual world could help you more than you might think, writes MIR UBAID
Posted/Updated Saturday, Dec 10 14:50:46, 2011

 

Every industry has a set of indicators through which they can gauge how they are progressing. In the world of media, there is a broad spectrum of such indicators. TRPs are the progress meters for television networks, and circulation levels serve the same purpose for newspapers. However, the world of news is very quickly making a perennial migration to the virtual world. Every news media organization is attempting to crush their competitors, not just in their traditional medial realms, but online as well. And in these instances, organizations look to their web traffic to accurately assess their level of progress.

Certain website ranking systems have been developed by various internet software companies. One of the most popular amongst them is Alexa.com. As the website mentions: “Alexa is the leading provider of free, global web metrics.” Alexa states that visitors to their website can use the organization’s analytics for “competitive analysis, benchmarking, market research or business development.” It ranks websites based on the last 3 months of data. The site ranking is based on reach and page views. The factors that Alexa uses to rank a website are given on its website. Ironically, Alexa doesn’t rank its own website, alexa.com

Based on Alexa’s ranking system, we have developed a table of Indian news websites and how they rank on a national and global level. The websites included are the more popular ones across India, in addition to some regional ones which have high traffic rankings on Alexa.com.

Ranks as on 29-Nov-2011*

Website

World Rank

India Rank

India Times/Times of India/Economic Times

134

9

NDTV

654

54

Dainik/Daily Bhaskar

1,205

76

Sify News

1,171

83

Hindustan Times

1,398

113

The Hindu

1,640

134

Headlines Today/Aaj Tak/India Today

2,248

153

The Week

2,285

198

Zee News

2,345

159

DNA

3,064

236

Indian Express

3,585

327

Business Standard

4,777

348

FirstPost.com

5,269

374

Mid-Day

5,408

440

Deccan Chronicle

6,889

603

Deccan Herald

10,331

813

Outlook India

17,198

1,184

The Telegraph India

15,642

1,232

The Financial Express

15,768

1,207

Samachar.com

16,166

1,785

The Tribune

22,092

2,167

Times Now

27,277

2,692

The Pioneer

33,796

3,021

Tehelka

36,588

3,404

MeriNews.com

43,925

4,970

Dainik Jagran

49,703

4,242

The Statesman

89,757

11,040

IBN LIVE

97,046

11,945

123India.com

132,363

17,047

Mail Today

1,70,714

18,015

NewsX

2,25,498

39,694

*Ranks are subject to change everyday

Higher traffic online is generally accepted as being directly proportional to higher popularity for a particular website.  The most popular English newspaper in India is the Times of India, and it is consequently the most popular news website as well. Such a trend applies to many other media organizations; leading to the inference that the dominance of newspapers in print determines the dominance of their respective websites.

India accounts for a massive share of the global print media pie. In addition to making a name for itself for producing the highest number of movies in the world every year, India also has the highest number of newspaper publications. Almost 2000 newspapers are published throughout the country. And as more of these newspapers cement their online avatars, the indicators for “virtual success” become all the more crucial.

Another factor to keep in mind when analyzing web traffic for news media organizations is that most of the Indian population looks to non-English newspapers for information, and these newspapers have a wider regional circulation than all the known English print giants. However, the factor which makes regional papers lose to the national English dailies is the Internet itself. If you own a computer and have access to the Internet, then you must know English to run it first. A research conducted in 2001 by Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) claims that 73% of all the websites on the Internet are in the English language. Although no latest research has been able to provide accurate numbers of just how many websites are in English, it is evident that most websites that an average Internet user engages with are in English—be it social networking, news, entertainment, or communication. Translation tools have been developed lately by various companies including the Internet giant Google, however, it is widely accepted that the Internet—is in English.

Web traffic thereby becomes the exclusive measure of progress for well established, major media organizations, and for those that can effectively present themselves in the widely spoken language of the Internet—English. A case in point is Dainik Bhaskar—a Hindi-language daily newspaper. This newspaper has both a Hindi version of its paper online, as well as an English website called Daily Bhaskar. Meanwhile, another Hindi newspaper, Dainik Jagran, has only a Hindi version of its paper online. As per the table above, Daily Bhaskar/Dainik Bhaskar figure significantly higher in Alexa’s rankings in comparison to Dainik Jagran—despite the fact that the latter actually ranks number one in terms of its print circulation (total readership of Dainik Jagran is more than 5 crore). In the print arena, Dainik Jagran and Dainik Bhaskar are both the most widely read newspapers in India—with Bhaskar ranking second to Jagran in terms of circulation. Additionally, Jagran’s readership is 5 times more than the Times of India. But Bhaskar’s English addition has helped it climb up the charts past its competitor Jagran.

But could things change? Yahoo! has already made moves to localize its news in India, in order to gain an edge over Google News. Dainik Jagran’s website is linked to Yahoo, and if similar tie ups continue, then the business of online news could just prove to be as fluid as the news itself.

 

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