I read the Harris Poll on ‘time spent online‘ with some interest a few weeks back. The average Web user spent 13 hours per week online in 2009 – nearly doubling the average from the beginning of the decade.
That same week E&P reported via Nielsen the top newspaper site in November for time spent per visitor was about 6 minutes per week (AJC.com). Skip the math – that is less than one percent of the average netizen’s total time online.
To be fair six minutes is the average for all visitors including fly-bys which skews the results a bit low. So, taking those industry reported averages, along with the reader cohort behaviors we see on our own site:
Click to see a larger version of the chart.
These numbers are rough guesses but I don’t see any scenarios that change the result substantially.
The bottom line is that even your most loyal readers, those who likely visit your site every day, are only worth a half-hour per week. That is three percent of their overall 13 hour web use window.
Is three percent enough to convince most people to pay for your news? No matter how unique it is or expensive to produce, readers right now are voting with their mice.