Obama Inauguration Postscript: Traffic Was Up, But Not Wildly

With Patrick Smith: Last week’s inauguration of President Obama was always bound to produce an online traffic spike – but some of the outlets we approached were reticent to give actual figures for the afternoon, perhaps suggesting live news events are more naturally suited to TV. Anyway, here’s how some services – including online TV offerings – fared on the historic day…

BBC News Editor Steve Hermann: “The number of those watching the live stream concurrently peaked at about 230,000 (just after 1700 GMT) … totalling over two million page views. More than seven million users came to the site overall, which is high but below the numbers we recorded for the US election itself. Of those, roughly 1.5 million unique users accessed video (or audio).”

Zattoo: UK general manager Alex Guest: “We had a huge spike in the UK starting at 4 pm on both BBC News and BBC One and across both standard and HiQ streams – multiple times what we see at this time of day normally. ITV1, Channel 4 and Five remained totally flat. We had approximately four times as many new registrations as usual. When such an event coincides with normal working hours, watching live TV online is rapidly being adopted within our culture. After the inauguration, there will likely be an inflection in the number of people who watch TV online.”

Independent.co.uk: Traffic was 25 percent up on a normal day.

Sun Online: The paper’s website told us traffic was was merely “above average”

Livestation: The P2P TV app served half a million streams on the day. Spokesperson Kate Lothian: “There was lots of activity in the chat rooms, especially on Al Jazeera English, which also used our interactive Live Panel tool to find out what their audience expects from Obama.”

Joost: The VOD site took a live stream from EuroNews: “We had close to 100,000 concurrent streams. We also had more than 199,000 uniques for the day and 222,000 visits.

Times Online: The paper used CoverItLive, the part-chat, part-blog app that’s becoming increasing anachronistic in the live-video age: Assistant editor Tom Whitwell (via J.co.uk): “The Times had 35,000 through our live blog, with 50 comments per minute at peak.”

One other point to spin out of the inauguration coverage – the BBC, which can do no right at the moment, has raised some eyebrows across the pond for Newsnight’s editing of an Obama speech. This kind of cutting and pasting of quotes is pretty common practice but has kicked off a debate on the Poynter site and on BBC blogs themselves.

Photo Credit: tsmall