A July story on how some Arkansans are ditching pay-television for online services like Netflix and Hulu is ArkansasBusiness.com’s most-read story of the year, according to traffic numbers from Jan. 1 to Dec. 17.
The story, “Cutting the Cable: Pay TV Subscribers Turn to Internet,” by Senior Editor Mark Friedman, was well-read among Arkansas Business’ core audience, but also grabbed attention on the wider Web, where the shift from cable to Internet TV is a hot topic.
As of last Monday, the story had racked up more than 283,000 page views. The story has also been picked up by various related-content link aggregators, giving it visibility on news sites throughout the Web.
The site’s second most-read story was breaking news out of east Arkansas, where former Democratic state Rep. Hudson Hallum and three others pleaded guilty to manipulating absentee voter ballots in Hallum’s election to the District 54 House seat. The story was linked on the Drudge Report, driving thousands of unique visitors to ArkansasBusiness.com’s version of The Associated Press story.
The third-biggest story of the year was Editor Gwen Moritz’s Jan. 23 cover story on Jon Brawner, the mastermind of an attempted kidnapping in 2009 who later claimed to have helped some “thugs from Malvern” bury the body of Little Rock construction executive John Glasgow, whose disappearance in 2008 is still unsolved.
Brawner, a convicted felon, ultimately led law enforcement to a bean field near England (Lonoke County) and what he said was the exact spot where the 45-year-old was buried, but digging in the area yielded no evidence.
Moritz’s story examined Brawner’s role in the attempted kidnapping of commodities broker James Daven of Conway and the similarities between that case and Glasgow’s.
Another popular story this year focused on the shifting fortunes of one of Arkansas’ most famous families. Senior Editor George Waldon chronicled the debt that consumed the estate of the late Jennings Osborne and the spending habits that forced his widow and daughter to auction millions of dollars of property and personal effects.
Other tragedies broke the most-read list’s top 10, including the death of KTHV-TV, Channel 11’s promising news anchor Matt Turner, who died at 32 in a one-vehicle accident on Interstate 30 in Benton in October. That story was the fifth most-read online article of the year.
Also popular online were new details about the death on Labor Day 2011 of Dexter Williams, who died in a hot tub also occupied by Brett Cummins, then a meteorologist for KARK-TV, Channel 4. Ultimately, state medical examiner Frank J. Peretti reported that Williams’ manner of death was “undetermined,” although the cause was asphyxiation, or suffocation.
The University of Arkansas Razorbacks football team also generated plenty of popular news stories. They included word of former Razorbacks football coach Bobby Petrino’s mistress, Jessica Dorrell, finding new employment in South Carolina, and in-depth details, compiled by Friedman, of former interim coach John L. Smith’s ill-fated real estate dealings in Kentucky. Details on Petrino’s pending home sale also sparked interest.
And people continued to be interested in other people’s homes. Arkansas Business’ annual feature on Little Rock’s most expensive home sales once again entered the top 10 most-read stories of the year.
Most-Read Stories of 2012
1. Cutting the Cable: Pay TV Subscribers Turn to Internet
2. State Rep. Hudson Hallum, 3 Others Plead Guilty to Election Fraud
3. Is This the Man Who Buried John Glasgow?
4. Too Much Spending, Giving Force Osborne Family to Auction Assets
5. Today’s THV Anchor Matt Turner Dies in One-Vehicle Accident
6. Jessica Dorrell Returns to Fundraising in South Carolina
7. Arkansas Razorbacks Football Coach John L. Smith’s $40 Million Mistake
8. Case File Reveals More on Acquaintances Brett Cummins, Dexter Williams
9. Bobby Petrino’s $2.5 Million Home Is for Sale, and Has Been Since 2010
10. Little Rock’s Most Expensive Home Sales of 2011