comScore: 13M Online Inauguration Watchers

Last week we added up all the numbers of video streams released by the various outlets for their Obama Inauguration day traffic, and were impressed to see that the number exceeded measures of TV viewers — 70 million streams vs. 37.8 million TV watchers.

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Now comScore, which has the infrastructure to actually measure such things, has put out its own report on the matter, and its number is significantly smaller: 13 million inauguration video watchers. We’d known that 70 million was too high — given factors like many people watching streams on multiple outlets and having to refresh their streams when they jammed. Heck, standards of stream measurement are so loose that if someone turns up for a millisecond many outlets count it as a full stream. comScore also only counted U.S. viewers.

comScore only looked at the period between 12 and 1 p.m. ET, when Barack Obama took the oath of office and delivered his first speech as President. That’s unfortunately not the same time period Nielsen looked at for its TV numbers, the 37.8 million watchers were between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Damn these stats and their endless caveats!

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But this is the best we have, and it’s most likely much more accurate than the self-reported press release numbers we used last week (see above). Best of all, it’s a number of viewers, which is the same category Nielsen measured for TV. comScore found that compared to the previous Tuesday, 13 million unique video viewers was an increase of 45 percent. And 49.5 million videos viewed was up 33 percent from the baseline. Total minutes spent watching video were up 129 percent to 190 million.

comScore said cable news sites benefited especially from inauguration video traffic, with 30 percent of web viewers choosing MSNBC.com, CNN.com and FoxNews.com.

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