Excerpted from Ad Age, “How We Watched the Inauguration” By A. Hampp and A. Klaassen, Jan 20, 2009
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By the time final numbers are crunched President Barack Obama’s inauguration likely will have been watched by more people and on more platforms than virtually any other televised event in U.S. history — including the Super Bowl. This year’s biggest winner: the web, with cable news, social networks and even sports leagues capturing a record share of viewers tuning in and live-blogging online throughout the afternoon.
The early winners in the battle for inauguration-media-coverage supremacy were CNN and Facebook, which teamed up for a unique live-streaming event that integrated CNN.com’s video player with Facebook status updates, so users could update their statuses with up-to-the-second commentary.
According to early data … CNN.com had generated more than 136 million page views, while CNN.com Live had served more than 21.3 million live video streams globally … easily surpassing its previous record of 5.3 million live streams on Election Night …
If CNN and Facebook were the biggest winners in terms of streams served, Starbucks was arguably the biggest winner on the marketing side, as its new video ad aired on CNN.com Live directly after President Obama left the stage. The ad … was a community-outreach “grass-roots initiative” that offered pledge cards and free cups of coffee to consumers who promised to do five hours of community service during 2009 at their local Starbucks between Jan. 21-25 …
Another marketer looking to benefit from Obama mania is Audi, the German automaker, which will sponsor the evening broadcasts’ recap of the swearing in of Mr. Obama on ABC, CBS, NBC; the automaker also ran ads during numerous streamed broadcasts of the event online …
The inauguration was available from multiple sources and on multiple platforms. MobiTV offered live coverage from ABC News, CNBC, C-Span, Fox News and MSNBC on its mobile services. On the web, the inauguration aired on sites as diverse as Major League Baseball’s mlb.com and MySpace, which streamed the inauguration on its MySpace Impact website …
Other online broadcasters reported early success and record traffic. Hulu streamed live coverage of Fox News. The site wouldn’t report specific streaming numbers, but a spokesman said today’s inauguration “set a new record for us in terms of live streams, ahead of our previous events, which included the presidential debates, the acceptance speech in Grant Park and the Sarah Palin/Joe Biden debate.”
However, Fox is likely to gain a significant increase in new viewers thanks to its syndication on Hulu, which could boost its audience by as many as several million unique visitors. It attracted just more than 5 million to FoxNews.com on Election Night vs. the 10 million to 15 million who watched CNN.com and MSNBC.com.
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