Inauguration numbers strong online

Global news sites peaked at 5.4 million visitors per hour

NEW YORK -- TV ratings won't come in until tomorrow, but online metrics from President Barack Obama's inauguration are strong.

Web ratings company Akamai said Tuesday afternoon that global news sites saw a peak of 5.4 million visitors per minute at noon ET, just before Obama's swearing-in. That would make it the fifth-highest peak of Net usage since 2005, when Akamai began measuring it. The highest was 8.6 million at 11 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4, when Obama was elected. The other three were when the U.S. was eliminated in the 2006 World Cup (7.3 million), the first day of 2008 March Madness (7 million) and the first day of 2006's March Madness (5.5 million).

The peak in the United States, also at noon, was 4.6 million. Traffic was up 20% over the usual 3.1 million in North America, and up 22% above Europe just after 4 p.m. ET.

Both CNN.com and MSNBC.com served about 14 million separate streams on Tuesday morning, all before 11:30 a.m. It was likely to go up, way up, later on when the numbers from the swearing-in and address come in.
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