You may remember the Vietnam War was considered the first “Television War” as graphic images of combat thousands of miles away zoomed into our living rooms. Then the Gulf War became the “Cable War” as millions tuned in around the clock for the latest updates from that corner of the world.\t\t\t\t\t
\t\t\t\t\tNow there’s a sense the Iraq War will become the “Internet War” as major news sites reported unprecedented traffic as the siege began. Let’s look a little more closely at those numbers, and then consider what they mean to you.
We all know Internet traffic soars during major news events. But the volume of traffic associated with the Iraq War clearly demonstrates the Internet has come of age as a mass medium — and as a primary news source for many users. Our experience with MSN news sites tells the story.\t\t\t\t\t
\t\t\t\t\tMSNBC.com captured an audience of 24.3 million unique users during the month of March, leading all other online news sites, according to Nielsen/NetRatings’ latest audience data. \t\t\t\t\t
\t\t\t\t\tDuring March, MSNBC.com also:\t\t\t\t\t
- Increased reach by 21%
- Increased the average minutes per person on the site by 24%
- Served nearly 75 million free video streams
\t\t\t\t\tWhile MSNBC.com is a leader in breaking news and original journalism, the MSN political magazine Slate also experienced huge spikes in traffic — as high as 84%, according to Nielsen/NetRatings — as people sought out war-related issues and analysis.\t\t\t\t\t
\t\t\t\t\tWhen users flock to news sites they know and trust, that unprecedented reach has huge value for advertisers. So does being associated with an environment that is trusted.\t\t\t\t\t
\t\t\t\t\tBut there’s another piece of this that is also quite compelling for advertisers: The highly sought-after At Work audience, which we’ve talked about before, goes online during daytime hours in search of news. We’ve seen studies from the Online Publishers Association telling us this; now wartime traffic confirms it. Remember those free MSNBC.com video streams I mentioned? More than 26 million of them were delivered in the first three days of the war — and most of them during work hours in the U.S. mainland.
Joanne Bradford – MSN Chief Media Revenue Officer