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The new TV season programming lineup, fall sports playoffs and season kickoffs, educational resources for back-to-school students were responsible for the biggest gains in US web traffic in September 2009, according to the monthly analysis of US web activity at the top online properties based on comScore, Inc.’s Media Metrix service.

TV Sites Top-Gaining Category

The beginning of the fall season sent droves of Americans to TV sites for information about their favorite shows and/or to view episodes online, as the category grew 17% to 95.6 million visitors, comScore reported. Yahoo TV (NASDAQ:YHOO) led the category with nearly 20 million visitors (up 63%), followed by AOL Television with 13 million (up 7%) and NBC Network (NYSE:GE) with 11.4 million.

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Notably, CWTV grabbed the #10 position with 5.8 million visitors, nearly tripling its audience since August. CWTW also ranked #1 as the top-gaining property for the month.

Students Turn Online for School Help

As students hit the books in September, they also looked to the web for information and resources. Sites in the Education – Information and Computer Software categories both saw an increase in activity as classes resumed for students around the US. Education – Information sites grew 15% to 72.3 million visitors, making it one of the fastest growing categories in September. The category was led by Pearson Education with nearly 17 million visitors (up 40% ), Hot Chalk with 13 million visitors (up 64%), and Classes USA with 8 million visitors (up 13%).

Perhaps related to the back-to-school phenomenon, the Computer Software category grew 14%, attracting 34.4 million visitors in September, led by Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU), which grew 18% to 6.4 million visitors, the anaysis found.

Symantec Store (NASDAQ:SYMC) followed Intuit closely, with 6.2 million visitors (up 11%), while Wareseeker.com ranked third with 3.7 million visitors (up 76%).

Sports Competitions Heat Up

Between the approaching Major League Baseball playoffs and the NFL season kickoff, sports were top-of-mind for many of Americans in September. The category reached an all-time high, attracting more than 98 million visitors, up 14% vs. August.

Yahoo Sports ranked #1 in the category, with 38 million visitors during the month (up 32%), followed by ESPN (NYSE:DIS) with 29 million visitors (up 21%) and NFL Internet Group with 19 million visitors (up 19%).

Visits to NFL-related sites were also significant movers and shakers in August, as football fans geared up for the coming season.

“As summer fades and fall begins, Americans shift their focus back to school and take comfort in their TVs as season premieres and fall sports dominate the tube,” said Jack Flanagan, comScore EVP. “With nearly half of the US online population visiting television sites in September, it is clear that more than ever before Americans are turning to the web for entertainment.”

Top 50 Properties

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Sites ranked as the #1 property in September 2009, with 165 million visitors. Google was followed by Yahoo Sites with 160 million visitors, and Microsoft Sites with 133 million visitors.

Facebook.com held its #5 spot in the comScore rankings, with 95 million visitors, while ESPN climbed 9 spots to #30.

Top 50 Ad Focus Ranking

As it has in months past, AOL Advertising led the September Ad Focus ranking, reaching 91% of Americans online. Yahoo Network ranked #2, reaching 89% of the population, followed by Google Ad Network with an 86% reach.

Source: Top 50 Websites for September: TV Sites, Sports Post Gains