Monday, January 26, 2009

A Week Later

From Michael Castengera (

SO, HOW MANY WATCHED: As we noted in last week’s MfM, we may never know how many people watched the inauguration. According to Nielsen Media Research, an estimated 37.8 Million Americans watched the event across the 14 broadcast and cable networks airing the coverage throughout the day. Nielsen should release the Live +7 viewing shortly. Regardless, that puts it just behind the Ronald Regan inauguration viewing in 1981 (which, if I read the numbers right, was about 41 Million). Of course that doesn’t take into account online viewing. Nielsen Online reports that visits to Current Events and Global News sites jumped significantly on Election Day, and based on my addition of just the top ten sites, that puts another 48.5 Million unique visitors into the mix. The top three sites were CNN (11 Million), MSNBC (10M) and Yahoo News (9M). After that it drops dramatically to the number four spot with Fox (4M). Further add into the mix viewing on YouTube where CSpan’s video of the inauguration and address drew 3.2 Million views and CNN’s coverage another half million. And that’s to say nothing about the record 2 Million people who actually turned out in person.

INAUGURATION SIDE NOTES: Five of the top ten videos viewed on inauguration day were directly related to the events of that day. No surprise there, but a little surprising is that his actual inauguration address came in at seventh place. The most linked-to video on inauguration day? Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream. Two of the other popular videos that day were The Presidential Pledge produced by celebrities Ashton Kucher and Demi Moore on MySpace; and on YouTube, it’s’s Yes, We Can which has had more than 16 Million views. An oddity in the mix – even with all the political hoopla of the day, the third most linked-to video was the YouTube Street Fighter video game. The biggest beneficiaries of the Election Day coverage were the digital networks of ABC and CBS which nearly doubled their unique audience on that day. And despite all the furor surrounding the dominance of Google and the decline of Yahoo, the actual Yahoo News website drew five times the unique audience (9 Million) of Google News (1.8M).

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