Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Obama’s Big Day on the Web: Smaller Than You Thought

A follow-up to last week’s guesstimates about the Web video audience that watched Barack Obama’s inauguration: A more refined estimate from comScore says the number may be smaller than we thought.

While earlier reports suggested that the Web video audience might have rivaled that of television’s, the Web tracking service says the numbers were more modest. It figures that 13 million people watched video coverage of the inauguration between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Jan. 20. Nielsen numbers indicated that 38 million people watched the event on TV between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Click on table below to enlarge:

Those numbers still aren’t apples to apples, but they’re closer than the earlier numbers we had, which compared TV viewers to video streams–at least 70 million throughout that day. Last week, I theorized that the video stream numbers we’d seen were inflated because many people had to reload their browsers or switch from site to site when they ran into tech trouble. Looks like that may have been the case.

Still, comScore’s numbers show that the event was indeed a big day for Web video, and in particular for the cable networks that streamed coverage on their own sites: 30 percent of online viewers watched the events on a cable news site comScore says. That goosed numbers for Time Warner’s (TWX), News Corp.’s (NWS), and, which is co-owned by GE (GE) and Microsoft (MSFT). (News Corp. is the owner of Dow Jones, which owns this Web site.)