NEW YORK (AP) â€” In a week that showcased the Internet's capabilities as a news medium, Web sites for the major TV networks got up to 4 million daily U.S. visitors each because of the suspenseful White House race.
Getting that many in a day is unusual. Net traffic is usually measured in thousands.
Nielsen/NetRatings and Media Metrix both reported increased usage on Wednesday, even though Tuesday had been expected to be the Internet's big night because of its ability to deliver detailed election returns quickly.
Traffic dropped slightly Thursday, according to Nielsen numbers released Friday.
CNN.com had about 4 million U.S. users Wednesday, while MSNBC.com got 3 million, according to both measurement services.
ABC got more than 1 million users on Wednesday. Media Metrix had CBS at 408,000 and Fox News at 402,000, while Nielsen had Fox at about 674,000 and CBS at 541,000. Discrepancies are common because traffic measurement techniques are still new.
Traffic grew steadily during the week. CNN, for instance, had 841,000 Sunday, 2 million Monday and 3.5 million Tuesday before hitting 4 million on Wednesday, the latest day available from Media Metrix.
Wednesday's CNN audience was five times that of the same period last week. ABC had a nearly fourfold increase. CBS usage jumped more than three times and MSNBC's more than doubled. Fox's increase was about 50 percent.
The figures track unique visitors, meaning the same person visiting a site over and over would be counted only once.
Yahoo!, America Online and the WIRE, the news site for The Associated Press, also experienced heavy traffic, as did sites for major daily newspapers like The New York Times.
On the Net:
Media Metrix: http://mediametrix.com
Nielsen/Net Ratings: http://www.nielsen-netratings.com