NBCNews.com Seeing Video, Social Growth

By Jordan Chariton 

NBCNews.comDespite MSN referral traffic ending two months ago, NBCNews.com is on pace to have its strongest month of the year in video and page views, VP of News & Product for Digital Gregory Gittrich told staff in an email today.

Gittrich, who spoke with us last month about NBCNews.com’s strategy of driving video viewers, tells TVNewser the strong September is due to a variety of factors.

“We’re breaking significant stories, delivering in-depth coverage, and using video, animation, graphics and text to provide unique takeaways and perspectives,” Gittrich said. “We’ve recruited a great team from an amazing variety of backgrounds. And we’re experimenting as we go, both in how we tell stories and how we deliver them. All of that is fueling our growth.”


While acknowledging a loss in desktop visitors, Gittrich’s cites significant growth compared to January.

The site is up +34% in video views, up +281% in video views per visit, and up +88% in Facebook referrals. According to Gittrich, video viewership growth has been so strong, the site has seen more views in the two months since MSN referral traffic shuttered than during the entire length of the partnership.

According to eBiz, Yahoo! News remains the top news site with 175,000,000 estimated monthly unique visitors, followed by Google News (150,000,000), Huffington Post (110,000,000), CNN (95,000,000) and, rounding out the top five, the New York Times (70,000,000). NBC News is 7th with 63,000,000 estimated monthly uniques.

Here’s Gittrich’s full note:


September is on pace to deliver the most video views, highest page views per visit and highest level of engagement of the year. In fact, in the first two months since we’ve stopped receiving traffic from MSN, we now have more video views on NBCNews.com than during the partnership. While we’ve lost the portal visitors, we’ve grown our video views organically by focusing on a more engaged audience that now discovers our stories across the social web. Look at this impressive growth since January:

– Video views increased 34%
– Video views per visit jumped 281%
– Facebook referrals grew 88%
– Page views per visit increased 81%
– Our bounce rate dropped 5% percentage points

We’ve accomplished this with an ever-stronger mix of speed around major breaking news, explanatory journalism with sharp angles, and extensive coverage of storylines our audience cares about. A few examples from recent weeks: Cassandra Vinograd and Ammar Cheihk Omar broke the fascinating exclusive about an American jihadist killed in Syria fighting for ISIS; Maggie Fox has continued her extensive coverage of the Ebola crisis, keeping us ahead of the competition; and our Original Video Unit has launched unique, explanatory franchises like Long Story Short, Show Me, and Flashback, all offering smart takeaways and perspectives.

Thank you all for your willingness to experiment as we launch new products and methods of storytelling. The importance of this cannot be overstated.

In less than two years, we’ve transformed what was a portal reliant on commoditized wire stories into a growing, interesting digital brand built on quality journalism. The credit for this goes to all of you for always working together, always being as creative as possible, and always collaborating across NBC News.

Thank you,
Greg and Hillary