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The Jerusalem Post's website, JPost.com, saw a 200% increase in visitors following the hospitalization of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, according to the Internet research provider Nielsen/NetRatings.
Interest in Sharon's condition fuelled a huge increase in the number of visitors to several Israeli news sites, with jpost.com recording by far the largest such growth, Nielsen/NetRatings found. Ynet's news section saw a 124% increase in visitors, Nana News had 103%, Haaretz's news section recorded a 98% increase and Arutz 7, 88%.
On January 5, the day following Sharon's stroke, more visitors entered Israeli news sites than on any other day since 2003. The number of unique visitors on Israeli news sites that day jumped by 63% to 172%
News site traffic remained between 30% and 40% higher than the previous three months' daily average in the week following Sharon's hospitalization.
"These figures show the growing importance of online news sites as a primary source of up to the minute information in Israel and highlight the sites' ability to capture a growing audience," said David Day, Managing Director EMEA of Nielsen/NetRatings.
Other recent events attracting high online audiences for Israeli sites include the Likud Central Committee "microphone incident" last September, President George Bush winning his second term in 2004 and that year's terror attack on Israelis holidaying at the Taba Hilton in Egypt.
Nielsen//NetRatings is the global standard for Internet audience measurement and analysis.