Nearly 55 million Americans – or one out of every four internet users – visited an entertainment news website in May 2009, a 7% increase vs. the previous year, according to an analysis based on data from comScore‘s Media Metrix and Video Metrix services.
The study found that nearly half (44%) of all time spent on entertainment news sites in May 2009 came from work computers, which indicates that Americans are “feeding their hunger for celebrity gossip by ‘snacking’ on these sites throughout the workday,” noted Jack Flanagan, comScore EVP.
In total, Americans spent more than 893 million minutes – or approximately 15 million hours on entertainment news sites during the month of May.
“It’s clear that following entertainment and celebrity culture has become a popular online pastime,” added Flanagan.
Entertainment News Sites Compete for Growing Audience
As for the most popular entertainment news sites in May, omg!, Yahoo’s celebrity gossip site, led the category with 20.6 million visitors, nearly doubling its audience in the past year, while TMZ captured the #2 ranking with 9.9 million visitors (up 7% vs. a year ago), followed by People with 8.2 million visitors.
Significant gains were experienced by USmagazine.com, up 325% to 6.5 million visitors, Entertainment Weekly, up 64% to nearly 4 million visitors, and The Insider, which grew 215% to 2.5 million visitors.
“May was one of the heaviest months on record for entertainment news consumption, but it will almost certainly be surpassed in June with the shocking news of Michael Jackson’s death driving high volumes of traffic to these sites,” added Flanagan. “While most entertainment news sites will see gains in June, TMZ is primed for an especially big month as the first outlet to report the news, which generated thousands of inbound links to the site.”
Entertainment Site Video Viewing Grows
Online video also has become an increasingly important channel for content in the entertainment news category. In April 2009, 34.8 million videos were viewed on entertainment news sites, an increase of 52% vs. a year ago, the analysis found.
TMZ led the video viewing category with 2 million video viewers and 10.3 million videos viewed. More than 1.7 million viewers watched 3.8 million videos at omg!, while ETOnline.com served 3.9 million videos to 1.5 million viewers in April.