Breaking News Drives Traffic to Net

The immediacy of the Internet is realized during significant current events as Nielsen//NetRatings measured dramatic traffic surges to news sites for the week ending February 2nd 2003. Nearly half (46 percent) of Internet users revealed to Jupiter Research (a unit of this site’s corporate parent) that visiting newspaper Web sites was a top online activity, indicating that a significant number already go online for news.

“By delivering up-to-the-minute content along with supplemental information, the Web is a primary source for news for many Americans,” said Carolyn Clark, senior Internet analyst for Nielsen//NetRatings. “In the past week, breaking news, such as the Columbia shuttle tragedy and the Iraq weapons inspections, have dominated the media coverage online and offline.”


Top 10 Fastest Growing News Sites
Brand or Channel 1.26.03 Unique Audience (000) 2.02.03 Unique Audience (000) Precent Growth
1. Time Magazine 407 863 112%
2. MSN Slate 473 953 101%
3. Newsday 244 385 58%
4. Netscape News 472 719 52%
5. CBS News 514 699 36%
6. CNN General News 3,008 4,070 35%
7. MSNBC 4,256 5,596 31%
8. Fox News 637 826 30%
9. Hearst Newspapers Digital 730 893 22%
10. WashingtonPost.com 1,039 1,267 22%
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings


Nielsen//NetRatings noted that one of Time.com’s most visited pages examined the Columbia shuttle crash and attracted more than 30 percent of the site’s audience traffic.

Meanwhile, the Columbia Space Shuttle dominated the Yahoo Buzz Index for the week ending February 8, 2003.


The Buzz Index for the week ending February 8, 2003
Current
Position
Search
Term
Weeks
on Chart
1 NASA New
2 Space Shuttle Columbia New
3 Internal Revenue Service 6
4 50 Cent 8
5 KaZaA 78
6 Eminem 40
7 PlayStation2 25
8 Jennifer Lopez 106
9 Joe Millionaire 5
10 T.A.T.U. 2
11 American Idol 2 3
12 Nelly 42
13 Avril Lavigne 36
14 Valentine’s Day New
15 Britney Spears 106
16 Ja Rule 67
17 Groundhog Day New
18 NBA 15
19 Lord of the Rings 30
20 Tupac Shakur 21
Source: Yahoo



Further analysis from Yahoo for the week ending February 8, 2003 revealed other notable searches:

  • “speed of sound” (+6,210%)
  • “nasa tv” (+4,871%)
  • “challenger explosion” (+2,753%)
  • “challenger disaster” (+2,711%)
  • “space shuttle” (+2,237%)
  • “kennedy space center” (+2,102%)
  • People searching for “space shuttle” also sought “nasa shuttles,” “space flight,” “shuttle reentry,” and “columbia pics.”

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