SBJ/March 20 - 26, 2006/This Weeks News

Yahoo! tops NBC in Olympic traffic

Yahoo!’s Web pages devoted to Winter Olympics coverage drew more unique visitors than, according to a widely used Internet traffic measurement firm.

In data compiled by comScore Media Metrix, the Yahoo! Olympics pages attracted more unique users in each of the three weeks of the Torino Games than NBC’s site (see chart). This was despite being able to offer video from the games and being promoted heavily on NBC television coverage.

Yahoo!, which also posted strong traffic numbers during the 2004 Summer Olympics, successfully redirected many users from other parts of its portal to its Olympics pages. The numbers surprised Yahoo! officials, and provided a strong testimonial to the company’s evolving interest in original content. For the Olympics, Yahoo! brought in a large stable of writers, licensed video from the U.S. Figure Skating Federation and other sources, and bulked up its Webcast show, SportStream.

“Given everything NBC did to boost its online distribution for the Olympics, such as its deals with ESPN, Google and the like, I really wasn’t sure how competitive we were going to be,” said David Katz, Yahoo! head of sports and entertainment. “But we’re thrilled with these numbers.”

Yahoo!’s development from a content aggregator to content generator remains a work-in-progress, with Lloyd Braun, head of Yahoo!’s media group, recently opting to move away from developing TV-style Web shows. Within sports, however, Katz said the plan is to increase original content significantly under Dave Morgan, the new executive editor for Yahoo! Sports.

NBC, while not responding directly to Yahoo! or the comScore data, is putting its faith in data compiled through WebTrends, a rival measurement outfit contracted by NBC, in which it said generated 15.7 million unique visitors between the beginning of January and the end of the games.

NBC’s totals in the comScore study did not include traffic on, which received day-old highlight clips through a licensing deal between the two parties.

Olympics traffic
Unique users (000s) for week ending:
  Feb. 12 Feb. 19 Feb. 26
Yahoo! Sports 2,390 4,515 5,121 1,834 3,442 3,508
Source: comScore Media Metrix

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