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News24 breaks all records with Election 2014 coverage

News24, one of South Africa's largest online news platforms, broke all its previous records with staggering user statistics during the election. Voting day saw 625,000 unique users and 4 million page views while Thursday (results day) hit a whopping 1.7 million unique users and 22 million page views. The growth in unique users was an unprecedented 220% with a 484% growth in page views*.
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"When we started our planning for Elections 2014 we knew that we wanted to surpass all local benchmarks from a development and user perspective," says Cathryn Reece - Product Development Manager for

The site reached its peak at 10am with 102,000 concurrent views, which is where it remained for the majority of the day. (Concurrent views are the number of people online at the same time). This broke the previous record of 79,000 concurrent views which they received on 19 February 2013, the day of Oscar Pistorius's bail hearing.

The clear winner out of all the features on the platforms were the interactive results maps which collected over a third of the total web and mobile traffic. "Our maps were world class. They worked seamlessly across our web, mobile-web and app platforms using the IEC's data, which was loaded directly from their live results database," added Reece. "After going through the process of manually loading the results in the last election we decided the system had to be more automated. We had to up our game and bring ourselves in line with international trends. And this is why it was a huge coup to gain direct access to the IEC's database. We can't thank them enough for all their support in helping us make this work."

Mobile has always been an important part of News24's strategy and the most important thrust for this election was to make sure all the elements worked on mobile. "We knew that mobile was going to be the most important platform on voting day and that we had one chance to get it right," says Reece. This was clearly evident in the stats with 80,000 active users on the iOS and Android app. And with 39,000 downloads of the app (30,000 of those downloads happening on Thursday alone), it was clear that users were looking for reliable, on-the-go news as it happened.

The app also received critical acclaim from across the social media platforms with many hailing it as by far the best option for results news. On Twitter the praise was evident from public and industry alike.

Other popular features over the election period included:
  • User Generated Content: The platforms received more than 5000 photographs and over 3500 'queue' reports.
  • Election Live Update feature: This feature got four times the amount of traffic the Oscar Pistorius Live Update had.
"We are incredibly proud of what we achieved during this election. The election website and apps came together as a fantastic team effort from our editorial, product and IT teams all playing an integral part in their respective areas. We undoubtedly raised the bar in digital news coverage and have shown what innovative and world class digital products can do in the breaking-news arena," says News24 Editor-in-Chief, Jannie Momberg. "This was hailed as South Africa's first digital election and we believe News24 has played a major role in setting the standard for election coverage in the future."

News24's election coverage was available on dedicated web and mobile-web platforms as well as on the iOS and Android apps.

*Effective Measure statistics.