TV networks enjoy strong Web audience growth in September, says Nielsen

According to Nielsen Online and its VideoCensus, season and series premiers, the political campaigns and the weakening economy helped to drive growth of the networks’ online visitors in September

Series and season TV premiers in September, as well as political news and the unfolding of the nation’s economic crisis, spurred significant growth over August in the number of online viewers of content from all four TV networks, according to Nielsen Online.

Figures for September released Nov. 6 show enjoyed month-over-month growth in online video viewers of 312 percent, according to Nielsen Online. FOX Broadcasting and followed NBC with 165 percent and 105 percent, respectively.

The Web sites of the television networks are becoming important destinations for TV viewers who miss content when it originally airs, said Jon Gibs, Nielsen Online VP media analytics. For example, Tina Fey’s impersonation of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on “Saturday Night Live” gave NBC a way to capitalize on the trend, so viewers who missed the original skit could catch up, he said.

While showed the biggest month-over-month growth in visitors, FOX Broadcasting by far recorded the greatest number of minutes spent per viewer at 114.3 for the month, more than twice CBS Television, which ranked second.

Online Video Metrics for Television Network Web Properties, September 2008 Unique Viewers Unique Viewer Percent Change Name (000) from August 5,557 312 ABC.COM 5,246 105 CBS Television 3,296 38 FOX Broadcasting 1,371 165 Source: Nielsen Online, VideoCensus
(Includes progressive downloads and excludes video advertising.) Time Spent per Viewer at Network Web Properties, September 2008 Name Minutes Spent per Viewer FOX Broadcasting 114.3 CBS Television 48.4 ABC.COM 45.5 34.6 Source: Nielsen Online, VideoCensus
(Includes progressive downloads and excludes video advertising.)

For more information, visit