Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Print versus Web: A Popularity Poll

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Print versus Web: A Popularity Poll

Article excerpt

A not-very-scientific look at how some syndicated features rank higher among online visitors than they do among offline readers

Are the most popular print features also the most popular online features when they're posted on the Web? Yes and no.

At Universal Press Syndicate, for instance, the six most widely distributed print features are "Garfield" (2,600 newspapers); "Cathy" and "Doonesbury" (1,500 apiece); "Dear Abby" (1,200); "FoxTrot" (1,000- plus); and "Ziggy" (600). Five Universal features are in the 500-paper neighborhood, including "NASCAR This Week," "Close to Home," "Focus on Family," "The Mini Page," and "Non Sequitur." Three are in the 300- to 400-client range: "News of the Weird," "Oliphant," and "Crankshaft."

So how popular are these 14 features in the digital world of uclick (the former Universal division that's now a separate company)? In response to an E&P query, uclick President/CEO Harry Campbell combined uclick syndication client lists with traffic figures and e- mailed comic subscriber totals.

While declining to give exact statistics, Campbell said the 15 most popular online features might be (in no particular order) "Garfield," "Doonesbury," "Bizarro," "Oliphant," "FoxTrot," "The 5th Wave," "Cathy," "Adam@Home," "The Boondocks," "News of the Weird," "Dear Abby," "Universal Crossword," "Universal Word Search," "Universal Puzzles," and "Universal Jigsaw."

Half of the most widely syndicated print features -- seven -- made the online list. Among the features ranking higher online than in print were offbeat or edgy comics attractive to a younger Web audience ("Bizarro" and "The Boondocks"), a comic about computers/technology ("The 5th Wave"), and various games possessing the interactivity that many Internet users enjoy.

"We believe that the demographics of several features match up very well with the Web audience," said Campbell. …

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