Television

Fox, NBC triumph in US election coverage ratings

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MUMBAI: In a major week for the US news channels, early ratings indicate that American viewers turned to NBC and the Fox News Channel the most for the latest on the presidential election on 2 November. Fox News came out on top among the cable networks with 8.1 million viewers followed by CNN with 6.2 million total viewers in prime time. Fox managed over three times the number it managed on election night four years ago. What is also interesting is that four years ago CNN had a lead over Fox.

Presidential election night coverage among the six major US news outlets - ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC - totaled a 34.5 rating and averaged 55.051 million viewers between 8 and 11 p.m. (ET), according to estimates by Nielsen Media Research.

That places the aggregate delivery of the election coverage below CBS' coverage of Super Bowl XXXVIII, which generated a 41.4 rating and 89.8 million viewers, the highest-rated event carried by a single network this year. NBC, which featured Tom Brokaw's last election night as a news anchor, generated the highest election night results. It reached 15.2 million viewers, followed by ABC (13.2 million) and CBS (9.5 million), say media reports.

Online US voters flocked to the Web as news sites pulled out the stops on election day coverage, offering everything from the latest exit poll results to nuts-and-bolts information on where to vote. ComScore Networks released a report that indicated that both the Kerry-Edwards 2004 and Bush-Cheney '04 Web sites received more than 300,000 hits from US visitors on 1 November. The traffic spike, on the eve of the election, more than doubled the average daily traffic for both sites.

GeorgeWBush.com landed 317,000 visits, roughly 3 percent more than Kerry's site, which tallied 306,000 on Monday. Traffic to the Kerry site was 128 percent higher than normal, while the Bush site was up by 103 per cent.

CNN.com, saw election day page impressions rise by nearly 525 per cent over the average daily traffic on the site. On 2 November CNN.com posted a new one-day high of 372 million page views, beating its previous one-day record on the day after 9/11 when it recorded 307 million page views.

Meanwhile MSNBC.com had set up a voter complaint hotline and began publishing real-time data on alleged voting problems in all 50 states. Polling stations with e-voting machines drew the most calls, according to the site, with more than 50,000 complaints by late Tuesday.

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