I heard CBC Radio host Andy Barrie describe CBC.ca's website as the most popular news source in the country as he put Sue Gardner, head of CBC.ca, through his patented ringer as they spoke about CBC.ca's 10th anniversary.
She claimed 10 million people a month from around the world click on CBC.ca, and that a million pages exist on the site. Gardner didn't say what proportion came from inside Canada vs. outside.
If that 10 million number is true, that's only because CBC has bundled all its properties together.
In a head-to-head competition for a Canadian audience, however, I'm pretty sure that CTV.ca draws more unique visitors monthly than CBC (disclosure: I work for CTV.ca but don't speak for it).
What's telling about CBC.ca is Gardner repeatedly referring to “the company” (is that how the online department of a public broadcaster thinks of itself?). Barrie asked a nice little question about advertising on the site. “It's a money question, obviously,” Gardner said. “The story is nobody's given the company any more money. The Web obviously costs money to create. CBC.ca is probably the biggest media site in the country … that's got to get paid for somehow.”
The only low point she can seem to recall is not being able to serve enough pages during high-demand times (the 1997 death of Lady Di, for example).
I finally learned how many people work for CBC.ca: 160, according to Ms. Gardner.
When I once phoned CBC's “audience relations” to ask that question, the less-than-helpful disembodied voice at the other end had a question of their own: “What do you want to know for?”
They never got back to me with an answer. Thank God Ms. Gardner was willing to reveal the secret. :)
I was wrong. CBC.ca surged ahead of CTV.ca in the Olympics period in February, but is falling down to a more natural level, according to Media Metrix numbers sent to me by someone inside the CBC.
Right now, CBC.ca has 2.651 million unique visitors per month in Canada, while CTV.ca has 2.279 million uniques. Canada.com is still number one, with 3.024 million uniques.
Meanwhile, Canadian Idol has just started, and as noted by Landru, that tends to push traffic for the CTV.ca domain.
That still leaves unanswered the question of the 10 million worldwide uniques claimed by Gardner for CBC.ca. Who measures the worldwide audience, and why wouldn't she use the more common measurement of Canadians.
While Andy Barrie claimed CBC.ca was the most popular news site in Canada, I guess it depends how you measure it, but by the CBC's numbers for “top online news sources used by all Canadians,” Canada.com bests it.
Oh well, I guess we can all be forgiven our vanities.