Intense interest in President Clinton's grand jury
testimony last Monday and his televised Map Room speech that night led to record-breaking
traffic at network-news Web sites.
Each Web site uses different measures for traffic, which
makes it difficult to compare them with each other.
CNN.com topped them all with a record 20.4 million page
views, but it said it has no reliable way to measure the exact number of visitors to the
site. MSNBC.com marked more than 1.1 million users, but it doesn't offer page-view
numbers. Foxnews.com had more than 4 million page views -- a far distance from Cable News
Network's site, but a record for the smaller, younger network's site.
Traffic on all four sites reached near-record and possibly
even record proportions again last Thursday, when word came around midday that the United
States had bombed terrorism targets in Afghanistan and Sudan. At times, the demand for
bandwidth was higher than it had been last Monday. Reliable numbers were not available at
At Foxnews.com, when people rushed to the site for news
about the bombings, Scott Ehrlich, senior vice president and executive producer, watched
his servers being hit with three times the demand of Monday's peak.
"Each of these events that we cover well continues to
add to our credibility and our user base," Ehrlich said.
"It's the ability for people to find out what's
happening in real time," explained Scott Woelfel, vice president and editor in chief
of CNN Interactive.
Merrill Brown, editor in chief at MSNBC on the Internet,
agreed. "The reality is that when news breaks, the only place, the only medium that
can give you that news when you want and let you participate is this medium," Brown
Once of the most accessed stories at CNN.com last Monday
was a technology piece by Frank Sesno explaining how hackers would try to intercept the
transmission of the president's testimony. That story had 124,000 page views alone.
Some 25,000 people subscribed to a e-mail alert for the
timing of the president's speech, and a record 254,566 -- triple the previous high --
tuned into CNN's live "Audioselect" to listen to the news from one of five CNN