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Latimes.com Has Record-Breaking Month

The LA Times‘ website broke traffic records in August with 18.6 million unique visitors and 192.7 million page views. Those numbers solidified the Times‘ stake as the second most-trafficked newspaper website in America, trailing only the New York Times. The site was fifth this time last year, behind the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and USA Today.

The Times had 12 blogs that drew over 1 million page views. Here are the top 10. The asterisks indicate a record-breaking number.

1. Framework: 16.4 million
2. L.A. Now: 11.5 million
3. Nation Now: 7.5 million*
4. Hero Complex: 4.4 million
5. Politics Now: 3.7 million*
6. Ministry of Gossip: 3.5 million*
7. Travel: 3.3 million*
8. Technology: 3.3 million*
9. Show Tracker: 2.7 million
10. Booster Shots: 2.3 million*

Managing editor/online Jimmy Orr‘s full memo to staff regarding the Times‘ August numbers is after the jump:

Today we’re broadening the monthly latimes.com traffic stats update to include our digital efforts across the company to provide better communication and understanding of the progress and goals of this key part of our business.

As usual, there is much good news to report, including latimes.com’s highest traffic month ever, a couple of key new hires in Jennifer Collins and Claire Hawley, and sales and reader momentum on our iPad and iPhone apps. We also have seven finalists — more than any other news organization — in the awards given by the Online News Assn., which will be announced later this week.

This being Southern California, we bring you the traffic report first.

According to ComScore, August 2011 was the most-visited month in the history of latimes.com, with 18.6 million unique visitors. ComScore reports that our year-over-year growth in unique visitors, 53.4%, was more than double that of our closest newspaper competitor, USA Today (at +22.5%), and almost four times that of the Washington Post (+13.6%). We handily beat everyone else in our peer group when it comes to growth (NYT was up 9%; WSJ, 18.7%).

These numbers cement our position as the No. 2-most-visited U.S. newspaper website. At the beginning of this year, we were fifth.
In terms of page views, August was the second-best month in the site’s history, with 192.7 million, according to Omniture. That’s up 55% from August 2010.

Over the last six months we’ve seen unprecedented and reliable growth, with a 32.8% increase in unique visitors and a 36.2% increase in page views. Much of it is coming from our real-time news sections (blogs); that traffic soared 183% — from 126 million page views to 357 million PVs — over the same period in 2010. In August, blog traffic more than tripled from a year earlier, to 73.1 million PVs. Search also continues to be a catalyst, as our traffic from Google alone has jumped 78% in the last six months.

A hearty welcome goes out to the folks at Nation Now — our new real-time national news section. Anchored by Rene Lynch and Deborah Netburn and edited by Tami Dennis with contributions from our outstanding staff of reporters, the team produced what we think was the best hurricane coverage in the nation. On-the-ground and around-the-clock reporting from North Carolina; Washington, D.C.; Virginia; Maryland; New Jersey; New York; Connecticut; and Massachusetts made Nation Now the most-trafficked new section ever, and it has quickly established itself as a one-stop source for national news online.

Now, here are August’s top 10 blogs. For the second month in a row, each topped 2 million page views (only one did so in August 2010). Asterisks denote records:

1. Framework: 16.4 million
2. L.A. Now: 11.5 million
3. Nation Now: 7.5 million*
4. Hero Complex: 4.4 million
5. Politics Now: 3.7 million*
6. Ministry of Gossip: 3.5 million*
7. Travel: 3.3 million*
8. Technology: 3.3 million*
9. Show Tracker: 2.7 million
10. Booster Shots: 2.3 million*

Three others drew record traffic: Money & Company (2.2 million), Pop & Hiss (1.3 million), and All the Rage (820,000).

The top five stories of August:

1. Test of hypersonic aircraft fails over Pacific Ocean (Technology)
2. Gallup: Obama job rating sinks below 40% for first time (Politics Now)
3. Porn filmmaking shut down after performer tests HIV positive (L.A. Now)
4. 5.9 earthquake hits Virginia, jolts N.Y. (Nation Now)
5. Hurricane Irene churns north; 8 dead (Nation Now)

On the business side, we’ve made two key new hires on the expanding digital operations team:

Jennifer Collins joins us as vice president of digital revenue development, responsible for helping better monetize our digital portfolio and developing new products, as well as leading and managing our custom publishing businesses. She comes to us with a background in digital media and was most recently general manager of Variety.com. Jennifer has held senior positions at American Lawyer Media, Safeway.com, CBS Interactive, and Disney Interactive. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College.

Claire Hawley joins us as director of audience acquisition and will lead efforts to bring new readers to our online products and help increase reader engagement through social media and other outlets. She will be spearheading an effort to upgrade our email and real-time alert products. Most recently, Claire was at ConsumerTrack, where she was director of search marketing and traffic strategy. Before that, she held consulting and marketing management positions at Disney and Xilinx. Claire has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado.

Elsewhere on the digital front: Advertising inventory on our iPad app is nearly sold out for the rest of this year, and reservations for 2012 are already robust. Almost 65,000 people have downloaded this app since it debuted in May, and we’ve had nearly 125,000 downloads of our iPhone app. Our @latimes Twitter followers are up 122% year over year, and facebook.com/latimes posts received 22.6 million impressions, up 21% month to month. We have had some great pickup in digital sales with three of our top interactive accounts showing explosive year-over-year growth.

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