Local News Sites Please Customers More Than National Sites

Web sites offering local news are creating higher levels of customer satisfaction than sites offering national news, according to a new survey by cPulse.

The research from cPulse's Satisfaction Solutions Group resulted from data collected over two months on six Web sites with 8,340 respondents.

According to the survey, a built-in affinity bond with users is among the most important factors being leveraged by local news sites.

“A visitor to a local news site is, in effect, going home,” said Jody Dodson, cPulse executive vice president. “They seem more willing to tolerate poorer service as well as less appealing features to receive that content.”

In the survey, 44 percent of online local news consumers reported being very satisfied with their Web site experience compared with 37 percent of online national news consumers. In addition, local news sites attracted almost twice as many key high-value customers — those who visit a site daily, rely on that site for at least 60 percent of all news consumption and are extremely likely to return.

Local news sites have several additional competitive advantages over their larger counterparts. Local sites cover fewer topics over a smaller area in a less in-depth style. This translates into an easier search for articles. In addition, 75 percent of national news site visitors surveyed stated that freshness of content was their primary requirement from the sites, a demand that does not affect local news content providers to the same degree.

“Here, smaller is better and content providers should be wary of the boundaries they set for servicing customers by determining if they can successfully manage the pressure, work volume and time demands that come with offering a wide scope of news content,” Dodson said. “Today's portals are some of the largest offenders of this concept.”

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