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Breaking news, Oscars drive record traffic to

March 07, 2013|By Jimmy Orr
  • on Feb. 12, 2013. on Feb. 12, 2013. ( )

What a month. Great journalism and smart strategies for digital coverage continued in February, resulting in the biggest audience to in the history of the site.

We also recorded a 125% increase in video viewership, and L.A. Now and Entertainment set all-time records.

Breaking News

Nobody does breaking news better than the Los Angeles Times, and this was never more apparent than in our coverage of the manhunt for Christopher Dorner and his standoff with police.

The 24-7 approach, led by Shelby Grad, Kimi Yoshino, and Amanda Covarrubias  made the Los Angeles Times the go-to site through aggressive digital storytelling and exclusive reporting that our competitors chased for days. The L.A. Now team blogged like crazy, but it was the original reporting that really stood out. Our crime reporters tapped their sources with extraordinary results, getting the insider accounts and frequent updates that pushed our coverage far ahead of the competition.

That combined with live streaming video, rapid-fire homepage Twitter updates and frequent live chats made it unmistakable to readers -- new visitors as well as loyal readers -- that we owned the story.

And the traffic bears that out:

-- L.A. Now recorded its highest monthly traffic with more than 19.7 million pages read, beating the previous record by more than 5 million.

-- L.A. Now recorded its best traffic day ever with 3.8 million pages read, besting its previous highest total by 1.4 million.

Yes, it was a big story that generated a lot of interest online. But we never would have drawn such a large audience to the L.A. Times website -- or kept people reading once they arrived -- without the assertive digital strategy used to cover the event. The frequent posts maintained the L.A. Times presence on the Web, making our hard work visible to the huge number of people searching for Dorner news. The blog averaged more than 50 posts per day, peaking at 62 at the height of the event.

We also made strides in audience engagement. Our live interactive videos brought reporters closer to the readers, with dozens of video chats. One live video discussion with Andrew Blankstein, Kate Mather and Michelle Maltais was viewed more than 400,000 times.


The Entertainment team followed a similar digital strategy in covering the Grammys and the Oscars, resulting in the highest monthly traffic total -- by far -- in the history of the Entertainment section.

We knew going in that we wanted to provide a “second-screen” experience of real value. And we did it by providing great live content for visitors to read, interact with and watch during the broadcast.

Readers responded.

More than 52 million pages were read in Entertainment in February. Powered by the live, breaking coverage of the awards shows, Movies Now, Pop & Hiss and Ministry of Gossip all recorded record months. The Image blog All the Rage also hit an all-time high.

Traffic during the two-day stretch of Grammys coverage (the night of the awards and the day after) increased by more than 95% over 2012 with more than 8 million pages read.

Our audience during the two-day stretch of Oscars coverage increased by nearly 200% over 2012 with about 18.5 million pages read.


How’d they do it? Expertise coupled with surgical planning. They carefully plotted what they would post and when and the best content with which to augment the stories -- including behind-the-scenes photo galleries, exclusive video and insiders' views that no one else had.

As with L.A. Now's successful push, the blogging was superb, and the original reporting pulled in a big number of readers.

The hard work done by the music, movies and digital production groups leading up to these marquee award shows paid off. And our strategy of collecting that work on curated hub pages and Oscar Watch made a significant difference. This year, we had a tremendous presence on Google search -- when readers typed into their browsers "Oscars 2013," the L.A. Times ranked high in search results -- on the first page and, at times, as the very top choice. That visibility fed our viewership. And once readers entered our site, they stayed far longer than is typical, finding more to read on every post.

The efforts in search were supported by a social media push (26 staffers tweeted about -- and from -- the Oscar ceremony, for example, leading to a 38% increase in pages read from Twitter and Facebook over 2012). Amy Kaufman gets a shout-out for tweeting 97 times during the event and including 38 Instagram photos in the tweets.

Our real-time ballot tracker reported the news of who won before the winners even made it to the stage. And the live video commentary from film critic Kenny Turan and staff reporter Robin Abcarian provided levity and insight during the commercial breaks.

Simply put: We owned the awards.


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