We’ve followed several major news stories over the past 6 weeks, ranging from the Ebola outbreak to the release of the iPhone 6. Ebola coverage took off when Thomas Duncan became the first person diagnosed with the virus in the US and has only intensified. Since our last summary, ISIS continues to rank as a top global story. We’ve also seen the Nobel Prize announcements and George Clooney’s wedding.
Ebola received the most overall coverage and attention of these stories, comprising 61% of total stories published and 49% of total page views globally. While George Clooney’s Venetian ceremony garnered the least media attention with only 2% of total stories published globally, it accumulated 10% of the total global page views. Coverage of and audience attention to the prestigious Nobel Prize paled in comparison to the other stories, with 2% of total stories published globally and only 1% of total global page views. It seems audiences paid 10 times more attention to the details of Amal Alamuddin’s white dress than to the ground-breaking scientific discoveries of this year’s winners for the Nobel Prize in Medicine.
Drilling down on a per story basis shows an interesting trend. Clooney’s wedding received the highest level of audience engagement per story compared to the rest as seen in the US, Singapore, France, Brazil, Israel and many others. Audiences were more engaged with each piece of Clooney content nearly 6 times more than with Ebola, over 4 times more than with ISIS, and nearly 3 times more than with the iPhone 6 the world over.
There were exceptions to this rule, namely India and the Phillippines, where audiences were most bedazzled by content on the iPhone 6.
Is it with the doom and gloom of war and sickness that has dominated headlines that the glimmer of a fairy-tale wedding outshines when it comes to audience engagement? Are audiences more engaged with stories about finite events than ongoing, developing stories covered by the media? As we saw earlier in the year, Miley outwerked her way to overshadowing the tragedies in Syria in the eyes of the American audience.