People.com Gets 1 Billion Page Views, a First for People and Likely for Magazines

Why Milestone Only Translates Into 14% of Ad Revenue

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- People magazine's website generated 1 billion page views in January, a first for the magazine and, it's likely, a first for all magazine websites.

As always in the case of web statistics, the numbers vary depending on whom you ask. People.com got 1 billion page views last month, according to Omniture, a service that websites hire to directly measure their traffic. ComScore, another provider of web metrics with different methodology, doesn't have January numbers ready yet but put People.com's December page views at 540 million.

Many people take Omniture numbers the most seriously, however, so 1 billion page views by its reckoning is a big deal, an occasion to pop some champagne. That's particularly true because magazines on the whole have struggled to make the most of the internet even as a deluge of new websites competed for magazines' readers and advertisers.

People's prize also poses a question, as a matter of fact, because its website contributed just 12% of People's overall ad revenue last year. Shouldn't 1 billion page views help a website comprise a bigger piece of the ad sales than 12%?

Part of the problem is that ad rates are so much lower on the web than they are in print. The bigger factor, however, is probably People's enormous success in print.

"People's ad revenue is a gigantic number so 12% of that is significant," said Fran Hauser, president of digital at the Time Inc. style and entertainment group, which includes People, In Style and Entertainment Weekly. That percentage continues to grow and should reach 14% this quarter, despite simultaneously rising print ad revenue.

People's print edition averaged paid and verified circulation above 3.5 million in the most recent reporting period, good for 11th place among consumer magazines, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation. It's also the No. 2 newsstand seller in the country, second only to Cosmopolitan. And People ran more ad pages last year than any other magazine, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.

Omniture declined to provide numbers for magazine websites, saying it's up to its clients whether to release those numbers or not. Forbes, another big player on the web, declined to describe its page views. Visitors to New York magazine's site, one of magazines' most successful digital operations, generated 69.9 million page views in January, New York said, citing Omniture. Us Weekly visitors generated 205 million page views in January, according Us Weekly, which doesn't use Omniture but cited Google Anlaytics data.

People's 1 billion page views comes a year after it got 789 million page views in January 2010, according to the magazine.

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