Hearst released some numbers this week on how things are going with seattlepi.com two months after moving to an online-only model.
From their statement:
Two months after becoming the nation’s largest newspaper to move to an all-digital news model, seattlepi.com’s year over year numbers show that it has more users this April than last April, when the Post Intelligencer was still publishing with an 80% larger staff, an amazing feat for an online venture with a newsroom of 20.
In April, its first full month of operation, seattlepi.com had 4.3 million unique visitors, up 1.6% from 4.2 million in April 2008 (source: Omniture). Total page views for the month were 37.3 million.
During the last week of April, the site broke its one-day unique user record since going online-only. There were 324,000 unique visitors on April 30—the 4th highest day in terms of unique visitors in 2009—breaking previous records set since going online only on April 29 (290,000) and April 27 (283,000). Total page views for those days were 1.5 million, 1.4 million and 1.5 million, respectively.
Keeping pace after an 80% reduction in staff is a good sign, although we don’t how well they monetized the April 2009 traffic compared to April 2008. And considering the print Post-Intelligencer no longer exists you would think the increase in unique visitors might have been higher, since the website is now the only way to get their content.
On All Things Digital, Peter Kafka is still skeptical about the viability of their model and whether they can make the numbers work in a local market. But you’d think these figures mean they’ve at least got a chance. So for now we can say so far, so good. Let’s hope things work out for them.