Donald Trump, Ben Carson and 2016 Frenzy Delivering Digital Media Boon

TheWrap’s definitive 2016 digital scoreboard shows how top news sites are faring since the first candidate announced in March through first debates

Last Updated: November 10, 2015 @ 3:17 PM

As the 2016 campaign delivers record ratings for networks like Fox News, CNN and CNBC, digital sites have been cashing in on the insatiable reader appetite for all-things Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Hillary’s emails and more.

From March, when Ted Cruz became the first candidate to announce a presidential run, through the end of September, when both parties had already hosted their first debates, the majority of top news and politics sites have been cashing in on increased clicks, growing significantly year-over-year.

“The presidential race has become a massive revenue and audience jolt to both politically focused dot com properties and social platforms,” digital expert Jesse Redniss told TheWrap.

Here’s a look at how politics and news sites are faring in the campaign season so far.

New York Times
The paper of record totaled averaged a whopping 61 monthly million unique visitors for its website from March through September 2015, according to Comscore.

That’s a 24 percent jump from the same seven-month timeframe in 2014, This comes on the heels of the paper surpassing the one million digital subscriber mark.

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Washington Post
The Post declined to provide numbers for the six-month period. The numbers we do have show the legacy paper is coming off a record September with nearly 60 million unique visitors, which put them within striking distance of the New York Times’ 66 million unique visitors in September.

The all-time high month was a 41 percent increase year-over-year, aided by rabid 2016 coverage. Mobile provided 42.4 million unique visitors for the month.

Huffington Post

HuffPost Politics page averaged nearly 11 million unique visitors between March and September, according to Comscore.

When isolating the month of March, when Ted Cruz became the first candidate to announce, and September, the site had mixed results, down 19 percent year-over-year in March but up 24 percent in September.

Interesting to note September’s numbers could have been bigger if the politics section cashed in on the summer frenzy revolving around Donald Trump. It didn’t, of course, deciding to move coverage of Trump’s “sideshow” campaign to its entertainment section in July.

Bloomberg Politics

Bloomberg’s revamped politics page launched alongside Mark Halperin‘s and John Heilemann‘s “With All Due Respect” has averaged 3 million unique visitors from March through September.

In the prior year, BloombergPolitics.com didn’t exist as a standalone site until its launch in October; coverage lived under Bloomber.com/politics, with an average of just over 1 million unique visitors.

The WADR program has been driving more video views to Bloomberg Politics’ site: in September, nearly 1 million unique video viewers watched clips from the Halperin-Heinemann politics show.

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Breitbart

The conservative news site averaged more than 16 million monthly unique visitors from March through September, according to Comscore.

That’s up 62 percent year-over-year compared to the same seven-month timeframe in 2014.

Politico
The all-things politics site averaged nearly 9 million uniques per month in the measured seven-month period, according to Comscore.

That’s a 40 percent jump from the same time period in 2014. The numbers come as Politico recently accounted plans for a global expansion to be in every state and country “of consequence” by 2020. nveiled plans to expand to “every state and country of consequence by 2020,”

The Hill

Fellow D.C. politics site TheHill.com averaged nearly 7 million unique visitors from March through September, according to Comscore.

When isolating the months of March and September, the site was up 100 percent year-over-year in March and 166 percent year-over-year in September.

Real Clear Politics

The political aggregator, often cited for its averaging of national polls during election season, averaged nearly 2 million unique visitors a month from March through September.

When isolating the months of March and September last year, the site was flat in traffic.

Talking Points Memo

The left-leaning site averaged nearly 3 million unique visitors a month from March through September.

When isolating the months of March and September, the site was flat year-over-year in March and grew 33 percent in September compared to the same month in 2014.

CNN

CNN

CNN Politics

September was a record month for the original cable news network’s politics site as 25 million unique visitors came to CNN Politics. Overall, CNN.com brought in 84 million unique visitors for the month. Its GOP presidential debate played a large part, drawing a lot of traffic to the website.

Overall, CNN politics averaged nearly 18 million unique visitors from March through September, according to Comscore.

That’s an 86 percent jump compared to the same seven-month timeframe in 2014.

ABC News

ABC averaged 60 million unique visitors from March through September for its website, according to Comscore.

That’s a 3 percent increase from the same timeframe in 2014. ABC’s numbers include ABCNews.com and GMA on Yahoo!

CBS News

The network’s digital home averaged 26 million unique visitors from March through September for its website, according to Comscore. CBS’ performance sparked a 42 percent jump from the same timeframe in 2014.

CBSN, the network’s streaming network, has also seen 4 of its top 10 video streams in the time period come from the campaign–all revolving around the presidential debates, in which CBSN offered  anchored coverage.

NBC News

The Peacock Network averaged 32 million unique visitors a month for its website from March through September, according to Comscore.

That’s a 8 percent decline in uniques compared to the same timeframe in 2014. Even though uniques are down, video streams are up 84 percent from March to September.

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Fox News Politics

The “Fair and Balanced” network, which has been atop the cable news heap for well over a decade, averaged nearly 11 million unique visitors on FoxNews.com’s politics page from March through September, according to Comscore.

When isolating the months of March and September, the site was flat year-over-year in March and up 10 percent in September. FNC was also was tops on social in the third quarter. According to Shareable, FNC had 59 million Facebook interactions, which include comments and likes, beating the WWE by nearly 10 million.

MSNBC

The “Lean Forward” network, which is up in TV viewers in recent weeks, averaged nearly 8 million unique visitors from March through September, according to Comscore.

The performance is a 38 percent increase compared to the same seven-month period last year.

Newsmax.com

The conservative news site averaged 7 million unique visitors from March through September, according to Comscore.

When isolating the months of March and September in 2014, the site was down 20 percent in March year-over-year and down 12.5 percent in September compared to the same month the year before.

Best of the Rest

BuzzFeed and Vox did not provide TheWrap’s with their site’s data.

[Editor’s Note: Some sites provided full March-September numbers for 2014 and 2015; other’s didn’t. For the latter, TheWrap compared the indivudual months of March and September, 2014 vs. 2015]

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