The big wait: SA election makes online news history

2009-05-08 08:31
Cape Town - Last month's election of Jacob Zuma as the fourth president of a democratic South Africa generated unprecedented interest among the country's digital citizenry. According to Nielsen NetRatings Market Intelligence, News24.com - South Africa's largest digital news brand - experienced a record 1 452 209 unique domestic browsers during the month.

For this year's election, News24 created Elections 2009 - http://elections.news24.com - a stand-alone section featuring up-to-the-minute news, videos and citizens' views on the latest election headlines and issues.

The site also delivered user generated election-related information compiled from emails, SMSs and election themed tweets on Twitter. In addition, News24 launched a mobile site with up-to-date election-related news, photos and videos, as well as a live comments facility.

The big wait

As one of the most highly anticipated and talked about elections in South Africa's history, citizens eagerly monitored the tallying of their votes in the days following Election Day.

On April 23 and April 24 respectively, 310,771 and 238, 396 unique domestic browsers flocked to the Elections 2009 online section and to http://elections.24.com/ on their mobile phones.

"The massive online traffic to the site demonstrates South Africans' intense interest in politics and the value they place on their democratic right to vote," says News24 editor Jannie Momberg.

"We're please to have provided a platform for citizens to appreciate and participate in the lead-up and response to the election of our country's newest President."

Mobile and UGC records

MyNews24, News24's community of news enthusiasts whose comments and opinions are published online, also saw a record amount of user generated content (UGC), with 109 000 unique browsers recorded during the month, mainly commenting on the elections. Equally as impressive, News24's elections mobi-site had 62 044 unique browsers and almost 280 000 page views.

"People are no longer content with waiting for the evening TV news or the next day's newspaper to remain up-to-date. It would seem that they would rather use the Web or their mobile phones for up-to-the-minute news and commentary," concludes Momberg.

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