April 4, 2003
A number of websites and web traffic analysts are lately no longer so eager to publish their growth results. In the year 2001-2002, U.$. home users of Internet only increased in the single digits, with 6% annual growth the highest recorded for a particular month over the previous year in one survey.(1) The most optimistic results seemed to show that Internet use at work was increasing faster, possibly at a percentage rate in the teens. 46 million in the united $tates were using Internet at work in August, 2002.(1)
Currently, MIM is enjoying readership growth of almost 100%--not over the previous year but over the previous month! The growth accelerated throughout March and is still accelerating in the first 3 days of April.
Meanwhile, some statistics show that Gannett newspapers, AOL news and the New York Times websites actually saw their 9-5 audience decrease once the war started. As expected, big winners were more TV-oriented. CNN picked up the expected 58% increase to top 10 million users during work hours in a week. Fox News grew 78% in a week to reach 2.3 million viewers during work hours. It might surprise readers to learn that CBS News only grew 2% in the same week.
The poor showing for the New York Times probably means that people were looking for live photographs/film and rightly guessed that CNN had the most reporters on the ground in Iraq for that. In other words, it's quite possible in a war week to see readership decrease as it did for the New York Times by 1%. NPR did better with a 73% growth to reach 540,000 online users in a week.(2)
Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Government has also had rapid Internet growth. Between December 2002 and February 2003, traffic grew 26% to over 44 million users of federal government websites; although one-third of that growth appears to be connected to the NASA disaster.(3)
In the major countries of Europe, the picture is the same--a general single digit percentage increase in Internet users between the last three months of 2001 and 2002.(4) Increasingly then, in the imperialist countries, there are no easy gains of 50% per year to be found. However, increasingly, websites differ in growth not based on their analysis but their spectacle-- just as it is on TV or in Hollywood generally. Time magazine still managed to pick up a big gain in the first week of February when over 30% of its audience came to see the Columbia shuttle disaster story.
Among the major bourgeois media outlets, the game is to do the quickest job covering the biggest spectacles live. Currently, MIM does not attempt to compete for the audience wanting purely visual spectacle such as shuttle explosion videos. People visiting our website are in for a controversial line and no reliance on the unity of first-hand spectacles. MIM did not have any footage of the Columbia disaster and also no photographers in bed with the Pentagon in Iraq.
At the moment, MIM is gaining ground on the mainstream media fast. If we can keep it up a few more years, we will reach our five-year plan goals and run in range of an organization like NPR.