Obama Inauguration Drives Droves to Web

January 28, 2009

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Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Broadcast & Cable | Television | Trade Shows & Events

The viewership at the top three US cable network news websites surged fourteen-fold from 12:00-1:00 p.m. EST on Inauguration Day and accounted for 30% of online event viewing, as millions of viewers tuned in to watch Barack Obama take the presidential oath and deliver his address, according to data from comScore Video Metrix.

The study of US video streaming activity on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 compared data with the Tuesday from the week prior (January 13) to serve as a baseline comparison for a typical Tuesday.

Online Viewing

Compared with the baseline period, the number of unique video viewers increased 45% to 13 million, while the number of videos viewed grew 33% to 49.5 million. Total minutes spent viewing video climbed 129% to 190 million, comScore said.


The top three cable TV news sites, MSNBC.com, CNN.com, and FoxNews.com, attracted a disproportionate increase in the number of viewers compared with the internet at large. The 4.1 million viewers who watched video on those sites during the 12:00-1:00 p.m. EST hour represented a fourteen-fold increase from the previous Tuesday.


“Online video coverage of President Obama’s inauguration appears to represent a significant incremental audience to TV, since it presumably includes many people at work who did not have access to a TV,” said Tania Yuki, senior product manager for comScore Video Metrix. “As such, the thirteen million online viewers during this time period likely represent an addition to the reported 40 million people who viewed the inauguration on TV. And, that so much of this online audience flocked to the websites of the major cable TV news outlets reflects a direct channel shift from TV to the internet.”

FaceBook/CNN.com Partnership Metrics

In other web-wide inauguration metrics news, blog Mashable posted numbers from a Facebook/CNN.com live streaming partnership that enabled users to provide live commentary via a CNN feed. For the period up until 1:15 p.m on January 20, Mashable reported 600,000 status updates posted through the CNN.com live Facebook feed, an average of 4,000 Facebook status updates per minute during the broadcast, and 8,500 status updates posted during the first minute of Obama’s speech.

As of 3:30 p.m. EST, Mashable said CNN.com had generated more than 136 million pageviews, CNN.com had served more than 21.3 million live video streams since 6 a.m., and had served 1.3 million concurrent live streams at its peak, which happened immediately before Obama’s speech.

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