Blog Post

Watching MarketWatch’s Numbers

This is something that has been puzzling us too for a few months now…about three months ago we received a tip from someone in the media industry to take a deeper look at MarketWatch’s traffic numbers post-Dow Jones acquisition: these were the numbers from NetRatings and ComScore and both of them showed some zig zag numbers (including major decreases) in traffic metrics for MarketWatch.com post-buyout.

We did some digging but didn’t really follow it up in the whirl of things…the story above does some bit of that, though it is much more complicated than it seems.

As the story says, during the last months of its independent life, MarketWatch averaged about 5 million unique visitors and 230 million pageviews monthly, according to ComScore Media Metrix. Today, MarketWatch has half that number of visitors and less than a third that number of pageviews.

Gordon Crovitz, Dow Jones’s president of electronic publishing, dismisses both ComScore’s and NetRatings’s traffic numbers, and says that while traffic may be down slightly, his internal figures show that pageviews per reader are up about 12 percent, and ad rates on MarketWatch have risen 10 to 25 percent, depending on the category.

Larry Kramer, former CEO and founder of MarketWatch, now head of CBS Digital Media, has a take on the numbers too: “The only thing Dow Jones may have underestimated was the power of the CBS brand,” says Kramer.

So go figure… I have a feeling we’ll have some follow-up coverage on this very soon.

P.S.: The point in the story about DJ looking for more acquisitions: read our recent interview with Crovitz: “Media Executive Interview Series: Gordon Crovitz, President, Electronic Publishing, Dow Jones