CNN.com recorded 11 million unique users on Jan. 20–the largest Web audience on inauguration day (Jan. 20)– besting rival online news giants MSNBC.com and Yahoo News by one and two million users respectively, according to Nielsen Online.
Based on Nielsen’s report, nearly all major news sites posted significant audience gains on Jan. 20, the day President Obama was sworn in, when compared to Jan 13—a more typical Tuesday. And while nearly every news player was able to stream live video of the day’s ceremonies, it was the big three of the Internet’s news world—CNN, MSNBC.com and Yahoo—that once again dominated.
CNN.com lead the day with 11 million uniques, a surge of 41 percent versus the previous week. MSNBC.com’s Tuesday audience jumped 43 percent week over week to 10 million users, while Yahoo News’ user-base climbed 13 percent to 9.1 million.
That ranking generally correlates with each site’s self-reported video streaming figures, all of which were record setting. Click here for related story
Looking further down the news ladder, inauguration day proved to be something of a victory for FoxNews.com, which has been moving to shake its also-ran status in the Web news race over the last year. The site drew over four million unique users on Jan. 20, an increase of 15 percent versus the previous week—and more significantly, more users than AOL News. That site’s traffic actually dipped nine percent week over week, landing at just below four million users.
Meanwhile, though ABC News’ collection of digital properties trailed the leading news sites by a wide margin, it did enjoy the largest spike in audience on inauguration day. ABC News’ audience jumped by 99 percent from Jan. 13 to Jan. 20, hitting 2.3 million uniques, according to Nielsen.
Besides driving tons of traffic to news sites, President Obama’s historic swearing-in generated a heavy dosage of video sharing via YouTube, found Nielsen. Yet history was not on everyone’s mind on inauguration day. Interestingly, among the most linked-too clips that day were Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, Obama’s inaugural address, and “YouTube Street Fighter “ – a sophomoric Web video game which allows viewers to choose among various action figures from the classic video game Street Fighter—and pit them against each other in combat.