“The Force” Draws Millions to Online Movie Ticket Merchants in May

 May Comscore Media Metrix Rankings Reflect Impact of Latest Star Wars Release, Mother’s Day and Other Spring Events

RESTON, VA, June 16, 2005 – Comscore Media Metrix today released its monthly analysis of consumer activity at top online properties and categories. The May release of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith drove increased visitation to a broad range of Web sites and categories. The Web’s top movie ticket merchants capitalized on the phenomenon with a significant increase in traffic compared to last year, including MovieTickets.com (75 percent increase), Fandango.com (65 percent) and Moviefone (44 percent). In addition, traditional spring events such as Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and school graduation ceremonies propelled consumers to retail sites offering flowers, gifts, food and other products.

“Millions of consumers contributed to the Star Wars online frenzy by viewing trailers, checking movie times, and buying tickets and merchandise,” said Peter Daboll, president and CEO of Comscore Media Metrix. “Others continued the longstanding tradition of sending Mother’s Day and graduation gifts through trusted Web merchants. The diverse and intense shifts in online activity we recorded in May are another reminder of the importance of the Web – and broadband – to consumers and commerce alike.”

Star Wars Fanatics Invade the Web
The May 19 premier of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith had a major impact on Web traffic during the month. The Entertainment - Movies category saw its traffic increase by 12 percent to 58.5 million visitors in May (see table 2). During the week the movie was released, more than 25.2 million Americans visited sites in this category – the highest weekly total thus far in 2005. IDG Entertainment saw its total traffic increase by 78 percent during the monthbetween April and May as more than 3.8 million people visited its StarWars.com site.

Star Wars fanatics and other movie buffs sought tickets and show times at Fandango.com, increasing its traffic 52.5 percent to 4.7 million visitors, and AMC Entertainment sites, which jumped 63 percent to 1.1 million visitors in May.turned to the Web in droves to secure quickly selling tickets. Nearly all of the top ticket merchants saw increases compared to last May. Category leader Moviefone, which was partnered with StarWars.com, drew 15.3 million visitors, an increase of 29 percent compared to a year ago. With 12.5 million visitors, Yahoo! Movies jumped 26 percent compared to last year, while Fandango.com and MovieTickets.com were up 65 and 75 percent, respectively.

The Retail - Toys category was also influenced by the Star Wars phenomenon. EntertainmentEarth.com, a site specializing in the sale of action figures, saw its traffic jump 90 percent as it featured Star Wars toys and novelties prominently on its home page. Traffic to Lego.com rose 52 percent as it introduced new toys related to the sixth installment in the galactic epic.

Mother’s Day, Graduation Create Spring’s Gift-Giving Season
Mother’s Day, graduation and weddings made Flowers, Gifts & Greetings the top-gaining category in May, jumping 30 percent to reach 43.8 million unique visitors in May. Comscore e-commerce research revealed that online spending on Flowers and Gifts totaled $144.5 million dollars during the week that ended on Mother’s Day, May 8, 2005, representing a 27-percent increase from the week of Mother’s Day 2004. In addition, FTD.com and 1-800-Flowers were the top two gaining properties in May, with respective increases of 152 and 129 percent over April (see table 1). Gift giving drove other categories as well, including Home Furnishings, which drew 33.4 million visitors in May.

Americans Eating Up Food Sites
The unofficial kickoff of barbecue season and Mother’s Day together played a major role in the 17-percent increase in the Retail - Food category. Omaha Steaks enticed 1.4 million visitors in May, a 195-percent increase compared to April, as consumers purchased meat products to serve as gifts and main courses at Memorial Day cookouts. Other sites that offer food as gifts also saw significant increases, including Williams-Sonoma.com (35 percent) and Godiva.com (79 percent). Meanwhile, Pillsbury.com received 1.1 million visitors in May, an increase of 101 percent from April, as bakers swarmed the site to submit recipes for Pillsbury’s 42nd Bake-Off Contest where finalists will compete for a $1 million grand prize in March 2006.

New Beginnings Boost Job Search, Classifieds Sites
More than one million Americans graduated from college in May and turned to the Web to plot the next step in their lives. Sites in the Job Search category provided a starting point for more than 15 million visitors, an increase of 13 percent compared to April. Among the University audience, Job Search growth was even more pronounced, jumping at 24 percent in May to 1.2 million visitors. CareerBuilder.com’s job search pages drew 7.8 million visitors, 25 percent more than in April. Graduates also turned to the Web to find new living quarters, which contributed to 12-percent growth for the Classifieds category, attracting 23.7 million visitors in May, including 2 million from the University audience. The top sites within the category were Trader Publishing Company, which includes apartment search site ForRent.com, and Craigslist.org, featuring everything from housing to merchandise to personals ads.

Consumers Prepare for Summer with Trip Planning, Body Shaping
Seasonal growth in the Travel - Information category, which grew 10 percent to reach 40 million visitors in May, showed that consumers clearly have summer vacations on their minds. Many of those turned to Yahoo! Travel (up 15 percent), TripAdvisor (up 14 percent) and TravelZoo (up 38 percent). May travel sales reached $5.3 billion, 10 percent more than April and 32 percent higher than May 2004.

Many Americans clearly plan to shape up before they ship out for vacation pools and beaches. The Retail - Health Care category grew 11 percent to 22.3 million visitors on the strength of fitness-related sites. TrimLife.com, a site for the popular weight-loss program, saw its traffic grow 97 percent in May, while traffic to strength-training equipment maker Bowflex increased 113 percent. A Special K brand promotion outlining a diet designed to help consumers “lose six pounds in two weeks” helped drive Kellogg Company sites up by 161 percent to 1.8 million visitors in May.

Top 50 Properties
Within the top 10 properties (see table 3), New York Times Digital attracted 1.9 million more visitors and moved up one spot to number 10. Americans sending and receiving e-cards to mark Mother’s Day and graduations flocked to AmericanGreetings Property, translating into a 17-percent spike in traffic and a 9-spot gain for May’s number 44 property. In its first month as a standalone property, MySpace.com attracted 15.6 million visitors, finishing at number 38.

Among sites in both the April and May Top 50 Properties, Shopzilla.com Sites had the largest jump (8 spots); 16 percent more Americans visited the property in May, when it was the number 33 property. E.W. Scripps, which coincidentally announced its acquisition of Shopzilla last week, drew traffic in May through both its Do It Yourself Best Built Home Giveaway and increased interest in its Food Network content. Collectively, these trends helped Scripps climb 7 spots and finish at number 42. The start of the summer travel season drove increases at Travelocity (up 5 spots to number 41 in May) and Orbitz.com (up 4 spots to number 35 in May). Finally, increased traffic to iTunes resulted in a 5-spot jump for May’s number 30 property, Apple Computer, Inc.

Top 50 Ad Focus Ranking
Advertising.com again finished atop the Ad Focus Ranking in May (see table 4) by reaching 80 percent of all online Americans, marking 13 consecutive months in the top spot. Yahoo! (number 2) and Fastclick (number 3) each reached 71 percent of the U.S. online audience in May. The rest of the top 10 remained the same, though AOL and Tribal Fusion each moved up one spot to numbers five and nine, respectively.

CoolSavings.com marked its first month in the Ad Focus Ranking by finishing at number 43 with 14.3 million visitors. Eager Americans searching for summer travel deals led to increases of 8 spots at Travelocity All and 6 spots at Orbitz.com, which finished May at numbers 30 and 35, respectively. Finally, MySpace.com attracted 2.1 million more visitors in May than in April, which translated into an 8-spot gain. MySpace.com has moved 8 spots in each of the last two months’ Ad Focus Rankings, settling at number 36 in May. 

TABLE 1
 

Top Ten Gaining Properties by Percentage Change in Unique Visitors*
May 2005 vs. April 2005
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Property Apr-05 (000) May-05 (000) Percentage Change Rank by Unique Visitors
Total Internet Population 164,961 165,420 0.3% N/A
FTD.COM 1,394 3,513 152% 237
1-800-Flowers 5,038 11,524 129% 59
Oxygen Media 2,295 4,454 94% 94
IDG Entertainment 2,626 4,675 78% 174
Citysearch 5,661 9,346 65% 77
THEFACEBOOK.COM 4,330 6,964 61% 113
PROFLOWERS.COM 3,656 5,614 54% 148
FANDANGO.COM 3,091 4,713 52% 170
LETSTALK.COM 2,328 3,428 47% 245
123GREETINGS.COM 2,633 3,821 45% 223

*Ranking based on the top 250 properties in May

TABLE 2
 

Top Ten Gaining Categories by Unique Visitors
May 2005 vs. April 2005
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
  Apr-05 (000) May-05 (000) Percentage Change
Total Internet Population 164,961 165,420 0.3%
Retail - Flowers/Gifts/Greetings 33,743 43,756 30%
Retail - Toys 15,764 18,411 17%
Retail - Food 10,522 12,270 17%
Career Services and Development - Job Search 13,393 15,079 13%
Entertainment - Movies 52,121 58,475 12%
Retail - Home Furnishings 29,862 33,357 12%
Directories/Resources - Classifieds 21,243 23,715 12%
Retail - Mall 28,869 32,179 11%
Retail - Health Care 20,164 22,295 11%
Travel - Information 36,389 40,009 10%

TABLE 3

Top 50 Properties
May 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 165,420        
1 Yahoo! Sites 119,096   26 Target Corporation 19,514
2 Time Warner Network 117,853   27 Infospace Network 18,988
3 MSN-Microsoft Sites 110,524   28 Bank of America 18,873
4 Google Sites 81,528   29 CareerBuilder LLC 17,770
5 eBay 64,294   30 Apple Computer, Inc. 17,116
6 Ask Jeeves 43,441   31 Classmates.com Sites 16,968
7 Amazon Sites 41,016   32 Intermix Media 16,424
8 CNET Networks 33,304   33 Shopzilla.com Sites 16,200
9 Viacom Online 33,224   34 OVERSTOCK.COM 16,142
10 New York Times Digital 31,628   35 ORBITZ.COM 15,766
11 Verizon Communications Corporation 31,483   36 United Online, Inc 15,735
12 Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) 30,549   37 Comcast Corporation 15,654
13 Monster Worldwide 30,405   38 MYSPACE.COM 15,578
14 Weather Channel, The 27,471   39 News Corp. Online 15,431
15 Vendare Media 26,972   40 iVillage.com: The Womens Network 15,102
16 Lycos, Inc. 26,387   41 Travelocity 14,820
17 Expedia Travel 25,933   42 E.W. Scripps 14,611
18 AT&T Properties 22,836   43 COOLSAVINGS.COM 14,288
19 Real.com Network 21,887   44 AmericanGreetings Property 14,267
20 Wal-Mart 21,258   45 ESPN 13,923
21 Trip Network Inc. 21,049   46 Ticketmaster 13,614
22 Shopping.com Sites 19,825   47 Sears Sites 13,468
23 Gorilla Nation Media 19,824   48 Cox Enterprises Inc. 13,438
24 Weatherbug Property 19,656   49 SBC Communications 13,223
25 Gannett Sites 19,564   50 Sony Online 13,002

TABLE 4
 

Ad Focus Ranking
Unique Visitors (000)
Total U.S. - Home, Work and University Locations
May 2005
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Rank Property Unique Visitors (000) Reach %   Rank Property Unique Visitors (000) Reach %
  Total Internet Users 165,420 100%          
1 Advertising.com** 132,142 80%   26 MaxOnline** 20,136 12%
2 Yahoo! 118,076 71%   27 CareerBuilder Network 19,797 12%
3 Fastclick** 117,014 71%   28 WeatherBug 19,452 12%
4 MSN 96,849 59%   29 CNET 18,582 11%
5 AOL 88,088 53%   30 Travelocity All 17,392 11%
6 Vendare Media - TrafficMarketplace** 87,691 53%   31 Disney Online 17,027 10%
7 Casale Media Network** 79,410 48%   32 CLASSMATES.COM 16,968 10%
8 GOOGLE.COM 78,663 48%   33 SuperPages Network 16,617 10%
9 Tribal Fusion** 75,997 46%   34 CHEAPTICKETS.COM 16,289 10%
10 YAHOO.COM Home Page 75,452 46%   35 ORBITZ.COM 15,766 10%
11 ValueClick Media** 61,186 37%   36 MYSPACE.COM 15,578 9%
12 EBAY.COM 60,591 37%   37 REAL.COM 15,352 9%
13 MSN.COM Home Page 53,298 32%   38 Claria Applications 15,291 9%
14 24/7 Real Media** 52,481 32%   39 WebMD Health Network 15,267 9%
15 BURST! Media** 51,045 31%   40 iVillage.com: The Womens Network 15,102 9%
16 Ask Jeeves 43,441 26%   41 Netscape 14,919 9%
17 EBAY.COM Home Page 36,062 22%   42 MONSTER.COM 14,461 9%
18 Business.com Network 35,659 22%   43 COOLSAVINGS.COM 14,288 9%
19 MSNBC 26,848 16%   44 ESPN 13,923 8%
20 ABOUT.COM 26,708 16%   45 TICKETMASTER.COM 12,657 8%
21 Lycos Network 26,315 16%   46 IMDB.COM 12,634 8%
22 Expedia Travel 25,933 16%   47 WhitePages Network 12,528 8%
23 WEATHER.COM 25,123 15%   48 BIZRATE.COM 12,417 8%
24 AOL Business Network 23,376 14%   49 WHITEPAGES.COM 11,576 7%
25 CNN 20,233 12%   50 FOX Sports on MSN 11,265 7%

Reach % denotes the percentage of the total Internet population that views a particular entity at least once in May. For instance, Yahoo! was seen by 71 percent of the over 165 million Internet users in May. 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:
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Comscore, Inc.
+1 312 775 6510
press@comscore.com



 

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