Updated: Jackson Memorial Draws Massive Web Stats

Michael Jackson’s memorial service in Los Angeles on Tuesday drove a huge audience to the Web to watch the proceedings live. But the ceremony ultimately fell short of the medium’s landmark live event to date: President Obama’s inauguration last January.

For example, CNN.com attracted 11.8 million unique users who had viewed 9.7 million live video streams as of 5 p.m. on Tuesday—peaking at 781,000 concurrent users. For the inauguration the site generated a whopping 26.9 million live video streams globally.

Similarly, Yahoo News saw its live traffic peak at 385,000 simultaneous streamers, second to the inauguration’s 430,000. However, the site blew past its previous total-streams benchmark of 1.8 million streams seen during the president’s historic swearing-in ceremony, as Jackson-mourners generated 5 million streams on Tuesday.

FoxNews.com generated 3.4 million streams for Jackson’s memorial, short of the 5 million the site delivered on Inauguration Day. However, the site did top MSNBC.com, which generated 3 million live streams on Tuesday; during the inauguration MSNBC.com far outpaced FoxNews.com by delivering 9 million streams.  And FoxNews.com’s live streaming audience peaked with 676,821 unique users at around 1:50 EST on Tuesday, topping both MSNBC.com’s viewership peak (510,000 concurrent viewers) and Yahoo’s.

For its part, MSNBC.com reeled in 7 million unique users during the Jackson-honoring event, driven in part by a groundbreaking partnership with Twitter. Much like CNN.com and Facebook’s partnership, users were able to both view the memorial and post and track Twitter comment through a single MSNBC.com interface.


Facebook users were averaging 6,000 status updates per minute during the memorial. That’s roughly 2,000 more updates per minute than occurred during the inauguration ceremony’s for President Obama last January.

In total, a million users posted roughly 800,000 Facebook status updates during the course of the live Web broadcast on Tuesday. Besides CNN.com, the Facebook’s status integration was accessible during the Jackson memorial Webcasts viewed on Eonline.com, ABCNews.com and MTV.com.

Just like the inauguration, Facebook users could comment during the Jackson funeral while streaming it live on CNN.com. Perhaps given Jackson’s global appeal, along  with the 10-day plus news cascade following his death, Facebook/CNN.com users turned up in droves to view and share their thoughts on the memorial ceremony. According to Facebook officials as of 1:30 EST on Tuesday (July 7)–just a half hour into the ceremony—users had already posted 500,000 status updates. Over 300,000 users were logged in at that time.

Jackson also has over a million more friends than Obama (close to 7 million). Meanwhile, a virtual Michael Jackson glove has become the most popular gift in the site’s history, as over 800,000 gloves have been exchanged by Facebook friends.