A record-setting 70 million-plus viewers watched election returns Tuesday night, which proved to be historic for cable TV and Web news consumption just as it was for Barack Obama.
It was no doubt the most people to use those mediums to follow election returns. Nielsen Media Research doesn’t have complete historical viewership figures, but the 47 million homes following the story on TV was the most ever.
Web sites run by MSNBC, CNN and ABC News all shattered records for traffic on Tuesday. The top site Yahoo! News saw its page views up 80 percent over the 2004 campaign.
ABC News had the most prime-time viewers, according to Nielsen’s preliminary estimate. But stretch that coverage to 12:30 a.m. EST, which would include John McCain’s concession speech and Obama’s victory appearance in Chicago, and CNN was watched more than any network.
Not only is that CNN’s biggest audience in a nearly three-decade history, it proved that a cable network could beat the major broadcasters on a big event. That’s an important change from even four years ago, when more viewers turned to ABC, CBS and NBC on Election Night.
DirecTV’s Election News Mix was a gas. They ranged 8 mosaic-style panels, 4 over 4, with the network channels top half and CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC and BBCAmerica across the bottom.
As you used the remote to move from panel to panel, you caught the audio for that channel. Click enter and it went full-screen. Click to jog back and you returned to the mix channel.
Absolute heaven for news junkies. Especially with 6 of the 8 in Hi-Def.