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October 13, 2005
Nick Denton says mainstream media is cooked
I caught up briefly with Gawker's Nick Denton the other day. It made me feel like running down the hall and grabbing a handful of free notepads and Sharpies--getting the last gravy from the MSM train while it's still running.
Denton says that the mainstream press is too slow to adapt its businesses to the ongoing information revolution. He compares big media to the telcos, like Verizon, who reluctantly embrace VOIP, in part because it appears to undermine their legacy business. "They have institutional hurdles to adapting blog economics," he says.
Denton says that radical adjustments are needed. While papers like The New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer have cut back on staff, he says: "Tell me when they fire 60%....It will take them so long to change, and that gives us a lot of time for new media to emerge and thrive."
Denton doesn't talk about finances, but repeats his contention that Weblogs Inc. co-founder Jason Calacanis sold out "10 years too early" to AOL. (Calacanis responds with a valentine for Denton.)
One question I forgot to ask Denton. In the traffic stats on his various sites, the average lengths per visit are ridiculously short. Wonkette, for example, gets only 8 seconds. Could that be true? I have to believe it's skewed by something.
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The short session time is because when you visit the front page of Wonkette you don't need to click around to read most of the stories. There isn't a special egg timer used to monitor this stuff, unless a person clicks on to more than one page a session time can't be calculated (these times are usually done by subtracting the time from the first page load from the last, all within a single session). And even once it's calculated it will always be less than the real time since you can't add in the time spent at the last page.
This is validated by the page depth metric, most poeople going to Wonkette view one page. The average is only something like 1.3 (which I would assume means 90+% of people hit one page, a few hit a lot and a small percentage clicks on two or three).
Interestingly enough on the weekends the number of pages per visitor skyrockets. At the same time total site traffic plummets. Looks like people don't browse around at work but will visit the home page.
Posted by: Jon Gales at October 13, 2005 03:19 PM