Media outlets often like to brag about how much traffic they get. Just recently, for example, the Washington Post boasted about beating the New York Times with 67 million unique visitors per month, and BuzzFeed said in October that the site had more than 5 billion "content views."
It doesn't usually get mentioned in the same breath as the New York Times, for some fairly obvious reasons, but there's a media entity that is far bigger than any of these, and its name is Reddit.
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The online community recently posted some of its 2015 statistics, including the fact that it racked up more than 82 billion page views during the year. By comparison, CNN bragged last year about beating every other news source with 1.7 billion "multi-platform views" in August.
While BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post are seen by many as the giants of the online media universe, with each one getting about 150 million unique monthly visitors, Reddit gets more than 230 million unique visitors per month.
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Of course, Reddit isn't a news publisher in the same sense that CNN or the New York Times are, with a staff of journalists devoted to reporting. Much of its content consists of amusing photos and videos, debates about Star Wars movies, and so on (not to mention some fairly offensive material it has struggled to deal with in the past).
Reddit does, however, have users who spend a lot of time aggregating news about events such as the war in Syria, and they do a pretty good job of it. The site's crowdsourced news reports during the recent violence in Paris were as good as CNN's, if not better.
Ironically, much of the pop-culture and "viral" stories that eventually appear on sites like BuzzFeed and even the New York Times originate on Reddit, which has an army of users constantly scouring social media for material.
In an attempt to compete with this re-use of its content, Reddit recently launched its own standalone news site called Upvoted, which writes about the stories from the community that are getting the most traction. The site also has a podcast devoted to the same kind of material, which was launched last year by co-founder and CEO Alexis Ohanian.
Reddit also has some prominent venture-capital backers hoping it can become a full-fledged media entity. The site raised $50 million in 2014, in a financing round that included prominent Silicon Valley VCs Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital.