As the world watched the U.S. campaign coverage and the Obama victory speech on computers seven hours ago, demand for news content hit a historic record, according to data from Akamai, the Cambridge, Massachusetts provider of global web content distribution for CNN, NBC, the BBC, Reuters and many others others.

Akamai registered a
record 8.5 million "global visitors per minute" at 11:00 P.M EST last night.  The previous record
of 7.2 million was set in June 2006 for the World Cup, company data shows.  8:30 a.m. update: Here’s statement provided to Beet.TV by an Akamai spokesperson:

"We believe the information that is
communicated by this Net Usage Index for News is an important
measurement tool for showing the Internet’s pervasive role in our day-to-day
lives.  Yesterday’s Election Night coverage generated the highest peak in
global Web traffic — to a collective set of leading online news sites
— that we have seen since launching the index in August of 2005.  We
expect Web traffic levels to also be high today as people continue to follow
this historic event."

Meanwhile at CNN.com, traffic broke records too.  Here’s a statement
from a CNN spokesperson emailed to Beet.TV earlier this morning:

"On Election Day,
CNN.com attracted more than 27 million unique visitors – the highest in the
site’s history. Further, CNN.com Live – the Internet’s only live, multi-stream
video news service – broke all previous records serving an impressive 4.9
million live streams, nearly tripling its previous traffic record. CNN.com also
generated more than 276 million page views and served an additional 6.7 million
on-demand video streams on Nov. 4."

Yesterday afternoon, I interviewed CNN.com’s Susan Grant about the record traffic. While I was in the CNN newsroom, I interviewed special correspondent Soledad O’Brien

2:36 p.m. update: Msnbc.com received over 20 million unique visitors, nearly 250 million page views, and served 9 million video streams on election day, shattering site records, the company just announced.

Andy Plesser, Executive Producer

More Beet.TV Election Coverage:

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien Talks About Exit Polls and This Digital Election

Major Media Networks Provide Mobile Election Video, Services

NBC Has Giant Viewing Party at Rockefeller Center Tonight

Exclusive: Traffic Spikes 400% on Election Day for CNN.com

NBC News Digital Chief: This Is Our First "Two Screen" Election Night

Active Media Streams Soar on Election Day