In the period immediately following the first attack on the New York World Trade Centre, New Zealand and Australian web surfers flocked to US news sites to monitor the rapidly developing situation, says Nielsen//NetRatings.
New Zealand at-home audiences to the US news site cnn.com were 371 per cent higher than this site's daily average audience during the month of August, says web audience measurement company Nielsen//NetRatings. In Australia cnn.com's home-based audience was 477 per cent higher than the daily site average for August 2001.
The role of the internet in providing up-to-date coverage of breaking stories and events was also reflected in significantly higher audience levels across a range of other US based web news sites.
Australian home audiences to msnbc.com were already up by more than 500 per cent against MSNBC's daily average audience in less than half a day. Similarly New York's major daily newspaper website nytimes.com had recorded more than 400 per cent audience growth in the first 12 hours of yesterday.
Audience usage patterns also reflected the high level of home surfer interest in both countries. Total time spent by New Zealand home based surfers at cnn.com grew by 1100 per cent overall in the 12 hour period, and average time spent by each user on the site was 255 per cent higher than the average time spent each day on this site during the August.
"As we did not record any significant growth in the number of page views recorded by visitors to US based news sites it is clear that our local surfers are focusing on main news page and perhaps also making much greater use of streaming video and audio links to stay in touch with the latest breaking news," says Brian Milnes, managing director, Nielsen//NetRatings Australasian operations.