It is impossible to understand the success of A1+ as an online media resource, without looking at its pre-history of closure and struggle with the incumbent Armenian authorities to regain their broadcast frequency and reclaim their right to broadcast news without having anyone meddling with their editorial policy. A1plus were one of the best as a TV company, and today, they are the best Armenian online resource – in terms of bringing fast news and providing high quality content.
“A1+” TV company was deprived of air on April 2, 2002 due to the refusal of the National Commission on Television and Radio to grant it a license. Since that time “A1+” participated in seven more broadcast licensing competitions with no success and made futile challenges of the NCTR resolutions with the judicial bodies of the country. Throughout these years the numerous international organizations, the journalistic community of the country has repeatedly addressed and continues to address the Armenian authorities with a demand to reconsider the politically motivated attitude to “A1+” and to provide the public with the possibility of hearing an alternative viewpoint. Presently, “A1+” is operating as a production studio, along with the highly popular web site www.a1plus.am and “Ayb-Feh” weekly. The legal entity running the “A1+” website is “Meltex” LLC.
Currently the A1plus server is hosted on a US server, but apparently as a result of increased web activity, the online resource has been experiencing difficulties – the website fails to load sometimes, and loads only after reloading a couple of times. This is one of the reasons why A1plus will be moving the website to a dedicated server anytime soon – works are underway even as I’m writing these lines.
For the purposes of this study the Google Analytics statistics have been used as the common denominator, and the concepts of pageviews and visits as the indicator of website accesses. According to the statistics that A1plus have kindly provided, we can see, that visitors from Armenia constitute more then 39% of the websites users, with users from United States and Russia following closely after.
A1plus.am, Map Overlay, Jan 1, 2007 – Dec 31, 2007, Screenshot from Google Analytics report.
Another important indicator is the average daily pageviews for A1plus for the duration of Jan 1, 2007 – Dec 31, 2007, which makes 13516. However, if we exclude the holiday period, when the website was not updated and the daily access rate fell dramatically, we will get a daily figure of 14560 pageviews. The following table illustrates the peak days of A1plus.am in the course of past year.
|13 May, 2007||60785|
|26 October, 2007||49235|
|10 May, 2007||46016|
|16 November, 2007||45496|
|14 May, 2007||44100|
|24 October, 2007||40982|
|12 May, 2007||40658|
|26 March, 2007||37107|
|27 October, 2007||33755|
|10 December, 2007||32888|
A1plus.am, Peak Days, Pageviews for all visitors, Jan 1, 2007 – Dec 31, 2007, Extracted from Google Analytics report.
Looking at the other key indicator – number of visits, we can see, that A1plus.am scores 3102 daily visit rate on average, but the figure grows radically, up to 3513 daily visit rate on average for last year, when we extract the holiday period, which by the way, was prolonged because the RA National Science Academy demanded that A1plus should vacate the premises where it was based, and A1plus was forced to move its operations to a new location.
|13 May 2007||9656|
|14 May 2007||8327|
|26 October 2007||7535|
|16 November 2007||7329|
|10 May 2007||7166|
|12 May 2007||6749|
|10 December 2007||6633|
|24 October 2007||6558|
|26 March 2007||6391|
|20 November 2007||6280|
A1plus.am, Peak Days, Visits for all visitors, Jan 1, 2007 – Dec 31, 2007, Extracted from Google Analytics report.
A1plus.am, Visits and Pageviews for all visitors, Jan 1, 2007 – Dec 31, 2007, Extracted from Google Analytics report.
Looking at the overall trends, we can see, that the A1plus website registered the most amount of pageviews and visits when there were major political developments going on in the country: May was the month of Parliamentary elections, and starting from October appearance of First President Levon Ter-Petrossian, when at some point A1plus became on of the rare sources where more or less objective information about Ter-Petrossian could be obtained, the website accesses grew substantially.
One of the purposes of this study was to reveal the media situation in Armenia. More specifically, considering the overall situation with other media resources and the strong internetisation of the 2008 Presidential Elections, the question is – how influential A1plus is, when it comes to impacting the flow of the upcoming election campaign. Looking at the access trends of the website and putting together my overall understanding of the Armenian media landscape, I can conclude, that A1plus is at least as influential when it comes to internal political affairs of the country, as any of the largest print media outlets. Moreover, A1plus has a stronger position, because the news here are much faster, and Russian/English language versions also allow it to be read by various other parties interested and having influence on the Armenian internal politics, including diplomatic missions of various countries in Armenia, international observation missions, representatives of various international and donor organizations. In this respect, I would dare to go further and state, that A1plus is more influential then any of the Print Media and Radio Newscasts, as a news resource, although that influence is still miserably small when compared to that of the television.