Arabian Business Web Index - January 2003 Report

Evidence suggests readers are gleaning more and more of their news from the internet

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By  David Ingham Published  March 3, 2003

Readers gather more news online |~||~||~|Click here to view the Arabian Business Web Index for January 2003"

Recent opinion pieces in both the UK-based The Guardian newspaper and on provided a timely warning that the public perception of the media is changing. Both claim that the web is becoming a more popular news source than print.
The Media Guardian published a piece by Paul Carr, editor of, pointing out that Heat magazine’s story on Madonna’s third pregnancy, which it claimed as an exclusive, had actually been published on his web site four days earlier.’s staff writer also penned an article looking at how 18 to 30 year-olds are now getting their news almost exclusively from the internet. “The good news is that the traditional press can no longer pretend that the internet doesn’t exist,” wrote Carr.
“The Mirror was recently forced to admit they’d ‘borrowed’ a Photoshopped image of the Argentinian football team clutching handbags from a user of, and the hundreds of emails we’ve received from Heat readers in the past week show that people do notice when a story already been broken online is claimed as an ‘exclusive’ in print. The fact that many people now turn to the internet to check the facts behind stories they read in newspapers or see on TV means that online magazines can no longer be considered the black sheep of the media family.”
He adds that the move towards paid for content is causing this shift in attitudes: people believe that if they have to pay for something it must be better quality than what they can get for free. James T.Madore, writing for, claims that the changing operations of the media giants are proof that the web is winning.
“The prospect of losing an entire generation has produced a whirlwind of activity at companies that once were slow to change,” he says. “Gannett Co. and Knight Ridder Inc. are rolling out weekly sections filled with reviews of movies and rock bands, listings of events, gossip and attitude that are inserted into the papers and distributed for free at nightclubs, coffee houses and other youth hangouts.
The US government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics discovered that only 33% of US families led by someone age 25 to 34 bought a daily newspaper in 2001 compared with 63% in 1985. Meanwhile, in recent research in the New York City metropolitan area, 80% of 18 to 34 year-olds quoted the internet as their main source of news.

Things remain quiet on the inte-rnet front here in the region, but one notable development was when recently ended its period of silence. The portal announced that it is to host a regional photo web site for HP. Called ‘Digital Life’, the site allows users to store their personal digital photos, create virtual photo albums and generate photo e-cards.
“The number of visitors to the site during the trial period averaged 1.5 million per month, with monthly registrations topping 1,700 users,” said Shadi Ahmad Eideh, director, Amman, “This proves that the online community is clearly interested in utilizing virtual products such as this. Overall, it is a positive sign to us that the internet and the latest technologies are being eagerly adopted in this region.” The ‘Digital Life’ service can be found at and provides users with 5MBs of free storage space. Specific restrictions on the size of each individual image are set, but the site will automatically resize images if they are less than 250KB in size.

Click here to view the Arabian Business Web Index for January 2003"

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||**|||~||~||~|Ranking in category by page views: Web sites are ranked according to the total number of page views reported in the sample period.

URL: Internet address of the Web site.

Site description: Web site owners have submitted their own descriptions. These have been edited by Arabian due to space constraints.

Site category: Categories have been formed by Arabian for the purpose of comparing Web sites in a like-with-like environment.

Total number of visits in period: The cummulative total of visits to a site in the specified period. A person visiting more than once in the sample period will be counted every time that person visits. Visitors to a site for a prolonged period, i.e. opens a Web site and leaves that site open on his machine all day, can count as several visitor sessions in that day. Web tracking software can effectively call a visitor session closed if it remains inactive for a predefined period.

Average duration of visitor session in period: The time taken between entering a site and leaving a site.

No. of new visitors in period: A count of visitors who have not at any time been logged by the Web tracking software.

No. of unique visitors per month: Unique visitors are counted using the visitor's IP address, domain name, or cookie.

No. of page impressions in period: A count of hits to pages defined as documents or forms by the Web tracking software. In most, but not all cases, a cick to a new page within a Web site will count as a single additional page impression. The supporting graphics on pages are not counted.

Sample period: The dates during which the log data was generated.

Verified by: Note of whether the visitor data has been checked by Arabian or whether the site owner has supplied data without independent verification.

Click here to view the Arabian Business Web Index for January 2003" ||**||

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