Sports Enthusiasts Hit the Web for Up-to-the-Minute Information

Comscore Media Metrix Releases March Web Rankings and Analysis

RESTON, VA, April 22, 2005 – Comscore Media Metrix today released its monthly analysis of consumer activity at top online properties and categories. NCAA Basketball’s March Madness and the kickoff of the baseball season drove sports-related content to dominate this month’s top gaining properties ranking.

“March was clearly a heavy month for news and sports content. Whether it was the frenzy over March Madness or interest in more serious topics such as Terri Schiavo or Pope John Paul II, consumers turned to the Web for the latest developments,” said Peter Daboll, CEO of Comscore Media Metrix. “For many consumers, especially those at work, the Web is the primary means of keeping up-to-the-minute on breaking stories and searching for more in-depth info on news of interest.”

Sports Enthusiasts Also Fans of Surfing for Information
Sports sites comprised half of the top 10 gaining properties in March, with NCAA, Sportsline.com Sites and ESPN.com all posting double or triple-digit growth compared to February. NCAA posted a dramatic increase of nearly 500 percent over February 2005, and a year-over-year increase of 11-percent. Student Advantage, which owns the Official College Sports Network, also benefited from March Madness with an increase of 42 percent over February.

Americans Show Interest in Heritage and Religion
Discovering family heritage, as well as researching information about relatives, is easier than ever thanks to online genealogy sites. Genealogy was the top-gaining category in March 2005 with an increase of 31 percent, due in part to specific properties’ efforts to lure new customers. Driving this category’s growth, Ancestry Sites experienced remarkable growth of 38 percent by offering free trials and utilizing effective banner advertising.

Posting gains of 22 percent over February, the Religion category was the third-largest gaining category in March. The combination of a favorable comparison to last year (when Easter occurred in April instead of March) and the intense coverage surrounding Pope John Paul II also resulted in an increase of 53 percent compared to March 2004.

Travel Categories Grow Due to Easter and Spring Break
Travel subcategories comprised four of the top ten spots in the top gaining category ranking. As Americans made plans to visit family for Easter, begin planning summer travel or finalize plans for Spring Break, they turned to the Web for both research and booking capabilities. More than 6.2 million Americans visited Car Rental sites in March 2005, an increase of nearly 30 percent over February. The Travel - Information category also experienced notable gains, with visitation to such sites increasing by 14 percent in March to reach 38.8 million unique visitors.

Television Advertising Drives Gains at Jamba! Ringtone Sites
A notable increase in cable TV advertisements for Jamster.com, the cell phone ringtone provider, helped push Jamba! Sites up by 159 percent compared to February 2005. Jamba! Sites have been popular in the UK and Europe, but with the growing popularity of downloadable ringtones, combined with the brand’s recent push in advertising, it has experienced substantial growth in the US market as well.

Consumers Take Advantage of Free Credit Checks
Following the midwestern region roll-out of the amended Fair Credit Reporting Act, traffic to GUS (the British holding company of Experian) increased 42% over February 2005 to nearly 3.5 million consumers. The amendment, which permits consumers to receive one free credit report every 12 months from each of the credit reporting companies, is being implemented over time on a regional basis.

Top 50 Properties
In March, CNET entered into the top 10 property ranking at number 10 and attracted 19 percent more visitors than in the previous month. The NCAA Tournament and the beginning of the Major League Baseball season helped ESPN attract 4.2 million more visitors in March than in February and soar 18 spots to number 33.

Among sites in both the February and March Top 50 Properties, News Corp. Online had the largest jump, as 17.7 million Americans turned to the site, primarily to view both American Idol and news content. News content, specifically relating to the Terri Schiavo and Michael Jackson cases, drove a 13-percent increase in traffic to Gannett Sites, which jumped 6 spots to number 26. Classmates.com Sites gained 10 spots to finish at number 37, while Target Corporation and Overstock.com each gained 6 spots to finish at number 28 and 32, respectively. Finally, the rush to secure tickets upcoming events such as the U2 concert series baseball and Major League Baseball games, drove a 10-percent increase in traffic at Ticketmaster, the final property in March’s Top 50 Properties.

Top 50 Ad Focus Ranking
Advertising.com enjoyed its 11th consecutive month atop the Ad Focus Ranking, reaching 78 percent of all Americans online. Fastclick attracted 5.7 million more visitors than in February to nudge into the number 2 position, and Yahoo! attracted 4.2 million more visitors at number 3. The rest of the top 10 Ad Focus entities stayed the same in March.

ESPN had the largest gain of any ranked Ad Focus entity; its 34-percent gain in visitation translated into a 7-spot climb to number 38. Intense news coverage of the Terri Schiavo and Michael Jackson cases drove CNN.com Homepage and MSNBC up 7 and 3 spots to number 50 and 22, respectively. Finally, traffic relating to The Suite Life of Zack & Cody powered a 19-percent increase in traffic at Go.com, which rose 5 spots to enter March’s Ad Focus Ranking at number 47.

TABLE 1
 

Top Ten Gaining Properties by Percentage Change in Unique Visitors*
March 2005 vs. February 2005
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Property Feb-05 (000) Mar-05 (000) Percentage Change Rank by Unique Visitors
Total Internet Population 160,287 164,263 3%  
NCAA 662 3,793 473% 221
Jamba! Sites 2,888 7,466 159% 105
Sportsline.com Sites 3,897 7,098 82% 110
Pepsi Co. 3,569 5,182 45% 163
Student Advantage 4,413 6,259 42% 131
GUS 2,456 3,477 42% 238
MLB.COM 4,945 6,885 39% 115
Foot Locker Sites 2,483 3,382 36% 247
MyFamily Network 8,562 11,474 34% 61
ESPN 12,481 16,684 34% 33

*Ranking based on the top 250 properties in March

TABLE 2

Top Ten Gaining Categories by Unique Visitors
March 2005 vs. February 2005
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
  Feb-05 (000) Mar-05(000) Percentage Change
Total Internet Population 160,287 164,263 3%
Genealogy 9,664 12,657 31%
Car Rental 4,909 6,233 27%
Religion 12,468 15,255 22%
Home Furnishings 26,943 30,948 15%
Classifieds 19,842 22,624 14%
Movies 25,981 29,590 14%
Information 34,055 38,765 14%
Airlines 26,404 29,701 13%
Ground/Cruise 10,342 11,623 12%
Tickets 32,818 36,882 12%

TABLE 3
 

Top 50 Properties
March 2005
Total U.S. - Home, Work and University Locations
Unique Visitors (000)
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Rank Property Unique Visitors (000)   Rank Property Unique Visitors (000)
  Total Internet Users 164,263        
1 Yahoo! Sites 120,237   26 Gannett Sites 18,547
2 Time Warner Network 117,508   27 CareerBuilder LLC 18,335
3 MSN-Microsoft Sites 115,209   28 Target Corporation 17,713
4 Google Sites 80,078   29 News Corp. Online 17,656
5 eBay 65,897   30 iVillage.com: The Womens Network 17,285
6 Ask Jeeves 44,099   31 Bank of America 17,263
7 Amazon Sites 40,322   32 OVERSTOCK.COM 17,158
8 About/Primedia 38,716   33 ESPN 16,684
9 Viacom Online 37,638   34 Apple Computer, Inc. 16,527
10 CNET Networks 34,535   35 AmericanGreetings Property 15,982
11 Weather Channel, The 33,054   36 Comcast Corporation 15,542
12 Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) 31,898   37 Classmates.com Sites 15,500
13 Lycos, Inc. 29,913   38 JPMorgan Chase Property 15,343
14 Verizon Communications Corporation 29,414   39 ORBITZ.COM 14,900
15 Monster Worldwide 28,587   40 Adobe Sites 14,880
16 Intermix Media 27,297   41 E.W. Scripps 14,786
17 Expedia Travel 24,357   42 COOLSAVINGS.COM 14,714
18 Shopping.com Sites 23,934   43 Sony Online 14,692
19 Real.com Network 22,954   44 Shopzilla.com Sites 14,610
20 AT&T Properties 22,465   45 Travelocity 14,498
21 Infospace Network 20,281   46 Cox Enterprises Inc. 14,220
22 Wal-Mart 19,640   47 SBC Communications 13,791
23 Trip Network Inc. 19,583   48 Dell 12,945
24 Weatherbug.com Property 19,462   49 Hollywood 12,809
25 Gorilla Nation Media 19,059   50 Ticketmaster 12,661

TABLE 4
 

Ad Focus Ranking
Unique Visitors (000)
Total U.S. - Home, Work and University Locations
March 2005
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Rank Property Unique Visitors (000) Reach %   Rank Property Unique Visitors (000) Reach %
  Total Internet Users 164,263 100%          
1 Advertising.com** 127,904 78%   26 CNN 23,317 14%
2 Fastclick** 119,203 73%   27 ClickAgents Network** 22,484 14%
3 Yahoo! 118,815 72%   28 MaxOnline** 20,580 13%
4 MSN 98,896 60%   29 CareerBuilder Network 20,260 12%
5 TrafficMarketplace** 96,442 59%   30 WeatherBug 19,211 12%
6 AOL 87,120 53%   31 Disney Online 19,054 12%
7 Casale Media Network** 83,669 51%   32 CNET 19,041 12%
8 GOOGLE.COM 77,405 47%   33 Travelocity All 18,726 11%
9 YAHOO.COM Home Page 77,392 47%   34 REAL.COM 17,819 11%
10 Tribal Fusion** 73,463 45%   35 GATOR (App) 17,457 11%
11 EBAY.COM 62,183 38%   36 iVillage.com: The Womens Network 17,285 11%
12 MSN.COM Home Page 55,043 34%   37 Netscape 17,188 10%
13 BURST! Media** 54,378 33%   38 ESPN 16,684 10%
14 ValueClick Media** 53,315 32%   39 SuperPages Network 16,254 10%
15 Vendare Group Search-New.Net Sites 46,235 28%   40 WebMD Health Network 15,667 10%
16 24/7 Real Media** 45,777 28%   41 CLASSMATES.COM 15,500 9%
17 Ask Jeeves 44,099 27%   42 MONSTER.COM 15,002 9%
18 Business.com Network 37,229 23%   43 CHEAPTICKETS.COM 14,983 9%
19 EBAY.COM Home Page 36,691 22%   44 ORBITZ.COM 14,900 9%
20 WEATHER.COM 31,798 19%   45 EA Online Syndicated Games 14,119 9%
21 Lycos Network 29,787 18%   46 TICKETMASTER.COM 11,891 7%
22 MSNBC 26,953 16%   47 GO.COM 11,853 7%
23 ABOUT.COM 25,907 16%   48 BIZRATE.COM 11,843 7%
24 AOL Business Network 25,231 15%   49 EA Online Games 11,812 7%
25 Expedia Travel 24,357 15%   50 CNN.COM Home Page 11,588 7%

 
Reach % denotes the percentage of the total Internet population that views a particular entity at least once in March. For instance, Yahoo! was seen by 72 percent of the over 164 million Internet users in March. The notation “**”indicates that the entity is an advertising network.

About Comscore Media Metrix
Comscore Media Metrix, a division of Comscore Networks, provides industry-leading Internet audience measurement services that report – with unmatched accuracy - details of online media usage, visitor demographics and online buying power for the home, work and university audiences across local U.S. markets and across the globe. Comscore Media Metrix continues the tradition of quality and innovation established by its Media Metrix syndicated Internet ratings - long recognized as the currency in online media measurement among financial analysts, advertising agencies, publishers and marketers - while drawing upon Comscore's advanced technologies to address important new industry requirements. All Comscore Media Metrix syndicated ratings are based on industry-sanctioned sampling methodologies.

About Comscore Networks
Comscore Networks provides unparalleled insight into consumer behavior and attitudes. This capability is based on a massive, global cross-section of more than 2 million consumers who have given Comscore explicit permission to confidentially capture their browsing and transaction behavior, including online and offline purchasing. Comscore panelists also participate in survey research that captures and integrates their attitudes and intentions. Through its patent-pending technology, Comscore measures what matters across a broad spectrum of behavior and attitudes. Comscore consultants apply this deep knowledge of customers and competitors to help clients design powerful marketing strategies and tactics that deliver superior ROI. Comscore services are used by global leaders such as AOL, Yahoo!, Verizon, Best Buy, The Newspaper Association of America, Tribune Interactive, ESPN, Nestlé, Bank of America, Universal McCann, the United States Postal Service, GlaxoSmithKline and Orbitz. For more information, please visit www.comscore.com.

Contact:
Andrew Lipsman
Comscore, Inc.
+1 312 775 6510
press@comscore.com



 

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