"The Beast is on a roar!" tweeted Tina Brown on Thursday afternoon, reporting the best traffic month ever for her website and a welcome victory for her recently gutted editorial team. The exclamation-laden tweet comes less than two weeks after WWD's John Koblin wondered whether Brown had "lost her fastball" in a pretty dire-sounding update on the nine-month-old marriage of Newsweek and The Daily Beast. The Tina Brown fastball, Koblin says, has to do with "her gut, her knack at spotting the zeitgeist." Others have criticized Brown for going a little overboard with attention-grabbing topics. (Remember that creepy zombie Princess Diana cover?) Well, traffic is traffic, and believe it or not, the company tells us the latest Newsweek cover story on "The Sex Addiction Epidemic" helped power The Daily Beast's surge.
As Tina tweeted, The Daily Beast saw their best month ever in November with 10.7 million unique visitors according to internal figures tracked by Omniture, an increase of nearly 80 percent over last year's traffic and an increase of about a million uniques over October. A company spokesman also told us that the magazine's advertising pages were up 59 percent over last year. Web traffic watchers know that the various services can vary widely, as is the case with The Daily Beast. For instance, the site Quantcast shows The Daily Beast having reached a traffic peak around May of this year, and while traffic is up in November, it's not a record. The advertising industry standard is comScore, but The Daily Beast didn't share those numbers with us. Nevertheless, the company credits the boost not only to the sex addiction story -- 2,000 Likes on Facebook! -- but the site's reporting on the Penn State and Syracuse scandals. The takeaway: sex sells, even when it's addictive or horrifying. But the commentary about politics and economics, an area Tina said she hoped to emphasize when taking over Newsweek earlier this year, is doing well, too.