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Msnbc.com is claiming an election coverage victory "by a landslide" over arch online rival CNN.com. According to internal numbers, the Microsoft/NBC Universal joint venture had an astounding 53 million unique visitors to the site during the week ending November 8. This would be about 400 percent above normal traffic.
Citing Nielsen Online numbers, visitors to Msnbc.com spent 13.5 minutes per visit vs. 10.5 for CNN, the company reported. Also, the site claims to have had 11.5 unique visitors on Novemer 5, the day after election day, more than CNN and Yahoo!, again citing Nielsen Online.
Video streaming was huge, registering over 40 million for the week ending November 8. Much of the viewing was for long periods, an average of 42 minutes. This was driven largely by the live streaming of the MSNBC cable programming presented online. These numbers were also attributed to Nielsen.
On October 28 at the Beet.TV Online Video Roundtable in the msnbc.com digtial cafe in New York, moderators Dan Farber of CNET and Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch questioned msnbc.com president and publisher Charlie Tillinghast and CNN.com Sr. VP and GM KC Estenson about how user interface drives online video consumption.
Update: Yahoo!, citing comScore numbers, claims to have won the online election coverage. A spokesperson from Yahoo! just gave Beet.TV the video streaming numbers:
Over a two day period (November 4 and November 5) Yahoo! News recorded more than 23 million video streams, the largest two-day period for video streams on Yahoo! News (Yahoo! internal data).
--- Andy Plesser, Executive Producer