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Internet

News on portals drawing larger audiences

Web portals bill themselves as hubs for instantaneous information, and a new study has found that they live up to the hype.

Web portals bill themselves as hubs for instantaneous information, and a new study has found that they live up to the hype.

The study, by Jupiter Communications, confirmed that Net users increasingly are turning to portals as their primary news source. It concluded that, in order to keep those users coming back, media organizations--whose stories often are aggregated by portals--should keep their articles brief in order to cater to online users who may not be interested in reading longer features.

"The fact that consumers read their online news in small blocks of time--usually less than 10 minutes--and choose sites that primarily aggregate headline-driven news, such as those of search engines or major Internet service providers, shows that many online users choose to use online news as a source for quick headlines and breaking news, not for deep analysis," said Jupiter analyst Mark Mooradian.

It's no surprise to most Netizens that news sections at portal sites are hopping. From the O.J. Simpson murder trial verdict to Kenneth Starr's report to Congress on allegedly impeachable offenses by President Clinton, consumers often turn to the Net for hot news.

But even while more and more people are warming up to the Web, television broadcast and cable networks remain the medium of choice for news, according to Jupiter.

However, all indicators show that the Web is quickly gaining acceptance as the definitive source for breaking stories.

For example, the Jupiter study found that news wires, such as the Associated Press, Bloomberg, and Reuters, have gained more mainstream recognition since partnering with portal sites to distribute their news articles and headlines.

In addition, Jupiter found that 61 percent of consumers surveyed said they read national and international news online, 39 percent read business news, 34.4 percent read sports news, 31.3 percent read entertainment-driven news, 25.9 percent read local news, and 20.6 percent read technology news.