Jun 10, 2017

Comey hearing draws massive online crowds

Alex Brandon / AP

Parts of fired FBI Director James Comey's Thursday Senate testimony were seen by 89 million people on Facebook. Nielsen estimates 19.5 million people saw it on live television.

Why this matters: The high-profile Congressional hearing (McCarthy, Iran-Contra, Anita-Hill) used to be prime spots for television. Now those audiences are shifting online. In addition to Facebook, 2.7 million people watched it on Twitter's Bloomberg co-branded livestream. (One caveat: a Facebook view can be as short as 3 seconds, so a direct comparison to TV ratings is inexact.)

The TV viewership was less than some historic television hearings: 85% of American TV households tuned in to the Watergate hearings and 55 million people watched the Iran-contra hearings over the course of a week

According to data analytics firm Chartbeat, more than 900,000 people were reading Comey-related articles across the web at any 5-minute interval throughout the 10:00 a.m. and 1:00p.m. hours on Thursday. Chartbeat also found that the amount of time spent (minutes per page) spiked by nearly 20% during the hearing, likely due to viewers keeping livestreams of the hearing open in their browsers. According to Chartbeat Head of Product and Engineering Josh Schwartz, Chartbeat measured similar spikes during the election.

Generational divide: On TV, the majority of 19.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen, were age 55+, but on Twitter, the majority (88%) of logged-in live viewers under the age of 35. Social Gut Check: Twitter estimates 3.6 million Tweets were sent from 7a.m.-1:30pm Thursday discussing Comey's testimony, which is small in comparison to the 27 million+ tweets sent during the Super Bowl this year. Facebook says there were 8 million comments, reactions, and shares on its platform in relation to the hearing on Thursday.

Go deeper

Unemployment rate falls to 13.3% in May

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 13.3% in May, with 2.5 million jobs gained, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The far better-than-expected numbers show a surprising improvement in the job market, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The difficulty of calculating the real unemployment rate

Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Note: Initial traditional state claims from the weeks of May 23 and 30, continuing traditional claims from May 23. Initial PUA claims from May 16, 23, and 30, continuing PUA and other programs from May 16; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The shocking May jobs report — with a decline in the unemployment rate to 13.3% and more than 2 million jobs added — destroyed expectations of a much worse economic picture.

Why it matters: Traditional economic reports have failed to keep up with the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic and have made it nearly impossible for researchers to determine the state of the U.S. labor market or the economy.

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How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The NBA's Board of Governors approved Thursday the league's 22-team plan to resume play at Walt Disney World — a plan that also includes tentative dates for both this season and next.

Why it matters: The league's proposed trip to Disney World not only impacts this season but could have a domino effect that impacts seasons in the future — and could permanently change what time of year the NBA plays its games.