Nielson/Netratings, an Internet media and market researcher, has added "Total Minutes" and "Total Sessions" metrics to Netview, its syndicated Internet audience measurement service. These metrics aim for a more precise perspective on total endgagement accross sites. The total minutes metric provides a commom denominator for user behavior that is independent of site design.
These are a welcome addition. With more sites offering video content and utilizing AJAX. These are web technologies where the user does not reload the entire page each time new information is requested. This makes the current metric, page views, become less and less relevant and the standard measurement.
For example, the ratio of total minutes spent on Myspace versus Youtube is 3.6 to 1, but the ratio of page views is much larger at 10.4 to 1. Youtube visitors spend more time per page than Myspace because they are primarilty watching videos, which require fewer page loads.