Michael Jackson's death and related events has drawn the most online buzz in Internet history. News of his death on June 25 broke daily records, capturing nearly 8 percent of all conversations on the web. Buzz surrounding Jackson's July 7 public memorial (which drew 31.1 million TV viewers) ranks as the third most-discussed topic online ever at more than 3 percent of conversations and early data for July 8 indicates that yesterday's traffic record may already be eclipsed by today's ongoing discussion. The one other event to see this level of discussion was the inauguration of President Obama with roughly 5 percent of all online discussion.
As fans discussed the emotional and musical details of the memorial, the media coverage and the integration between television and the internet was also a major topic. Nearly 15% of all online discussions about Jackson referenced either a broadcast or social network.
CNN which teamed up with Facebook on streaming coverage was named in 5% of all online conversations. Also on the TV network side, BET came in 2nd with 1.9%, ABC with 1.7%, MTV with 1.44%, NBC/MSNBC with 1.43%, Fox with 1.38% and CBS with 1.0%. Among social networks, Twitter was the most discussed social networking site with 2.4%. Facebook was mentioned in 2% of the conversations, followed by Youtube (1.9%) Myspace (0.6%) and Hulu (0.3%) which streamed FOX News coverage.
"While events like the Jackson memorial, or the Obama inauguration are unique, the way consumers are multitasking between media is quickly becoming the norm," says Charles Buchwalter, Senior Vice President, Research & Analytics, Nielsen Online. "Even as recently as five years ago, the only choice for community was to gather around the TV screen with co-workers or friends for major events. Now, there are three screens to choose from and, as our research shows, online activity actually reinforces TV viewing. So when outlets like CNN integrate their coverage with Facebook or MSNBC leans heavily on Twitter it demonstrates the public’s growing integrated use of TV, the web, and mobile for getting, and at times reporting, the news."
Terms and tags such as #MJ and #Michael Jackson dominated the top trends on Twitter.com yesterday, July 7, 2009. Interestingly, even the misspelling of the King of Pop’s first name as “micheal” also topped trends throughout the day.
Users watch the events of the day unfold on TV and online, often “tweeting” about the coverage offered by various media outlets. Since many were limited to watching coverage online while at work, Twitter featured frequent links and recommendations for live video feeds, most commonly CNN’s live feed with Facebook integration, followed by CBS News/Ustream, MSN, and MSNBC.
During the memorial service, recommendations and links to video stream slowed down, and viewers began to focus more of their “tweets” on the performances at the service, only distracted by news that social media sites Facebook.com and Twitter.com were out of capacity and/or had crashed. However, CNN.com did continue to be the most recommended live feed during programming. Following programming, recommendations shifted to video recordings posted on YouTube.com.