The Obama effect: even Yahoo gets a boost

November 13, 2008

As America celebrated a historic presidential election on Nov. 4, US newspapers also celebrated their (one-day) revival as all major city newspapers were cleared off the shelves the next day. Media industry watchers hailed President-elect Barack Obama’s media Midas touch, as if he could even save the long suffering newspaper business.

It would seem the Obama effect helped Yahoo News snatch the number one online spot on Election Day, with 7.6 million unique users. It was the largest single-day audience in online news history, Yahoo said, citing the latest comScore Media Metrix figures.

This is nice news for Yahoo, away from the world of volatile stock prices and non-seller remorse. Yahoo’s stock briefly dropped to single-digit territory today before rallying to end up 8 percent at $11.15. It’s still some $30 billion cheaper than Microsoft’s bid.

Anyway, back to the magical Election Day, when Yahoo beat political news stalwarts like MSNBC, CNN and FoxNews.

Election Day audience figures for the top five online news sites according to comScore were:

1. Yahoo! News: 7.6 million unique users, 259,244,751 total page views
2. MSNBC: 6.8 million unique users, 232,076,565 total page views
3. 6.3 million unique users, 134,573,839 total page views
4. AOL News: 2.5 million unique users, 45,122,501 total page views
5. million unique users, 31,856,733 total page views

Yahoo’s own internal figures show that users spent an average of 14.2 minutes per session on the Yahoo News Political Dashboard on Election Day, and Yahoo’s oneSearch recorded a 780 percent increase in election-related search queries on Nov 4 compared to the day before.

Aside from Yahoo execs, these statistics are also quite interesting to advertisers want to know that they’re reaching more eyeballs than ever. Here’s a quote from the Yahoo press release:

“In purchasing media for the launch of the all-new Dodge Ram 1500 truck a year ago, we knew Yahoo! would be an important place to be on Election Day as it is viewed by many as the fifth network,” said Susan Thomson, director of media, Chrysler. “The high audience numbers Yahoo! received that day paid off for Dodge as well.”

(Photo: Reuters)

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