What’s More Powerful: Blogs or the Mainstream Media?
A funny thing happened the other day, for those of you who missed it. I had just come home from a long trip to our friendly neighbours to the South and I posted a quick little blog post to let my regular readers know that I’d returned. My plans were to wake up the following day and write the blog post that I’d planned to write on the occasion of my 100,000th hit which I received sometime on Christmas Eve while I was away.
Well, it turns out that I missed my 100,000th hit (which took 1 year, 1 month and 4 days to achieve).
And my 200,000th hit (which took about 16 hours to achieve).
And my 300,000th hit (which took about 14 hours to achieve).
So I figured that now was as good a time as any to reflect on blogs as an institution by comparing the power of blogs to the power of the mainstream media.
A quick comparison of the reach of blogs versus the mainstream media results in some interesting findings.
Let’s start with just this blog here, which is as far from being a widely read blog. In the past 48 hours, this blog received approximately 240,000 hits. While it is impossible to draw direct comparisons because some of those hits were undoubtedly repeat hits just as it is also true that some of people will leave their television set on while they are not paying attention or have left the room. But, ignoring those caveats, what does that compare to in terms of the viewership of mainstream media broadcasts?
Breakdown according to the 2006 year-end Neilsen Media Research report.
240,000 is a greater reach than the total viewship of the following top-rated TV programmes (in 2006):
THE ABRAMS REPORT on MSNBC (238,000 average viewers)
MSNBC LIVE on MSNBC (207,000 average viewers)
SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on Headline News (170,000 average viewers)
THE MOST on MSNBC (196,000 average viewers)
ROBIN & COMPANY on Headline News (198,000 average viewers)
CNN HEADLINE NEWS on Headline News (190,000 average viewers)
PRIME NEWS W/ ERICA HILL on Headline News (184,000 average viewers)
MAD MONEY on CNBC (158,000 average viewers)
THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON on MSNBC (128,000 average viewers)
BIG IDEA WITH DONNY DEUTSCH on CNBC (138,000 average viewers)
COVER TO COVER on CNBC (118,000 average viewers)
THE SUZE ORMAN SHOW on CNBC (118,000 average viewers)
Now, keep in mind, that’s just this relatively insignificant blog.
When we expand our search, we see some interesting statistics. Even if we ignore all independently hosted blogs, as well as all blogs hosted at blogspot and other popular blog hosts and focus only on all the blogs hosted at WordPress.com (including this blog), it isn’t even a contest.
Bill O’Reilly’s popular programme The O’Reilly Factor averages 2,094,000 viewers per night. O’Reilly’s programme runs 5 days a week (when he’s not defending himself against sexual harassment charges from his co-workers). Assuming O’Reilly takes two weeks off per year, that translates to approximately 523,500,000 total viewers per year (keeping in mind that those who watch his show regularly would be counted separately for every time they tune in)
Here is the data on only the blogs hosted by wordpress for the month of November alone:
416 million pageviews for blogs hosted with WordPress.com, and another 169 million on blogs hosted with WordPress.org. Total: 585 million pageviews. (source)
So all of the blogs on just one of the blog hosting sites, in one month alone exceed the total annual viewership of Mr. O’Reilly’s #1 ranked television programme by 62 million.
When we compare the two in terms of annual reach, we see the following results.
So the question remains as to how long the mainstream media can continue pretending that blogs are insignificant? I believe I’ve shown the evidence to the contrary to be abundant.