This paper sheds light on the empirical factors that influence the online competition for an audience. Statistical analyses are used to show that the number of times Websites appear mentioned in traditional news media has a positive and significant impact on the number of users that access those sites. The level of economic resources managed by the organizations publishing the sites also has a positive impact on the size of audience they get. The analyses reveal that the influence of offline media and economic resources is actually twofold: the more often a site is mentioned in newspapers, and the richer the organization publishing the site is, the more people flock to it, but also the more links the site receives; this improves the site's position in the rankings produced by search engines and reinforces its visibility. The paper provides evidence in support of the critical political economy approach to new media: it shows that the high concentration of online traffic in a few sites is not independent of the resources managed by the organizations producing those sites.
Published in Volume 12, Issue 8, pages 1149-1173