TVGuide.com Helps Users Navigate Online TV Muddle

Apr 5, 2009  •  Post A Comment

As the route to finding television shows online grows more cluttered and confusing every day, several Web sites have seized the increased opportunities to guide Internet users through that intricate maze.
TVGuide.com, for one, has capitalized on viewers’ need to sift through the mass of shows on video sites like Hulu, YouTube and TV.com, posting growth of 55% in its audience from a year ago.
TVGuide.com, which is the online home for the cable program guide network, now receives nearly 19 million unique visitors each month, according to March figures shared exclusively by TVGuide.com with TelevisionWeek. That’s helping the site to win and keep advertisers in a tough economic climate.
TVGuide.com signed Lifetime as a sponsor of its TV listings for the full year, with Comcast on board for the current quarter as sponsor of the site’s online video guide. Other advertisers include Showtime, Verizon Vcast and Unilever’s Lipton Green Tea.
The site’s traffic growth comes from its syndication strategy, new editorial features and social media marketing as well as its role as a guide through the fast-changing landscape. That’s a vital role because sites like Hulu, TV.com and YouTube don’t carry every TV show or network.
That creates a growth opportunity for sites like TVGuide.com, and its competitors like AOL TV and OVGuide.com, because they list and link to most shows and series on the Web.
“There is an opportunity with confusion over sites and who has what,” said Paul Greenberg, executive VP and general manager for TVGuide.com. “We link to every show or embed them, and users don’t care if the player is embedded on our site or if they are watching on another site. We will find it wherever it is.”
The TVGuide.com online video listings guide with TV shows and Web shows now accounts for 10% of the site’s traffic since its launch two years ago, he said. The site also runs TV business news, celebrity stories, regular features on top TV moments of the week, photo galleries and TV show recaps.
That’s helped the site attract a young-skewing demographic, which advertisers love, Mr. Greenberg said, adding that about one-third of the site’s traffic currently comes from the 18 to 34 demographic. ComScore ranks TVGuide.com first in the TV-entertainment category for engagement, with five visits per visitor each month, 13 minutes total per visitor for the month and 18 pages per visitor each month. It was followed in the rankings by AOL TV and E! Online.
Traffic at the latter sites also is on the rise. E! Online, though it doesn’t include TV listings, saw a 31% jump in unique visitors in January, when it delivered 4.4 million unique visitors.
Meanwhile, AOL TV drew 14.2 million unique visitors in February, according to comScore, up 25% from a year ago. That site includes editorial content, TV listings, celebrity interviews and some full episodes of TV shows.
Then there’s OVGuide.com, which doubled its traffic from last year to about 13 million unique visitors each month, growth that comes from search engine optimization and the addition of new playlists to the site, said Dale Bock, president of OVGuide.com. “This allows users to stay current with the latest popular content, whether it is viral, full-length, or niche-focused in any of our dozens of categories,” he said.
Back at TVGuide.com, Mr. Greenberg attributes the site’s growth—which tripled in the last two years—to new editorial content, the online video guide, social networking on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter and a burgeoning syndication strategy. The site offers its TV listings with ads embedded on sites like iGoogle.com, Yahoo, Glam.com, NYPost.com, MyFoxNY.com, the NBC local stations and others.
As a result, only 20% of TVGuide.com traffic originates on the home page, with the rest of the traffic starting on show pages, photo galleries and other areas of the site. “People are finding us without even thinking about clicking on TVGuide.com,” he said.


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