When daredevil Felix Baumgartner made his record jump from 128,000 feet in the stratosphere, 8 million people watched the stream, shattering the previous record…
Austrian BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner excited not only extreme sports and space enthusiasts with his record-setting jump this week.
He’s also got the streaming community buzzing.
Google/YouTube has reported that, at the peak of viewership, 8 million people concurrently streamed the event on mobile phones, tablets, desktops, and maybe even some connected TVs.
That crushes the reported previous record high of 500,000 concurrent live streams for a single event that occurred at the 2012 Olympic Games. A similar number reportedly watch the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Now when it comes to the word “record,” things get a little sketchy. There are citations of 7 million watching President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration – right alongside CNN numbers claiming 21.3 million live streams of the same event.
It’s possible that some streams described as “live” are really on-demand and after the fact. It’s also possible that “concurrent” is the magic word here. YouTube notes that many more watched portions of the jump live and replays later.
The real point is that live streaming has grown well beyond prototype, experimental, or an otherwise neat idea.
One can reach significant masses without a television network, satellite hookups, or any of the infrastructure that the gatekeepers have played to their advantage since the emergence of electronic media.
That’s a big deal.
But no one here is expecting the death of television any time soon. As The Guardian noted, more people in the U.K. alone were watching Downton Abbey than were watching Felix worldwide.
Admittedly, the big streaming successes have come as the result of very high profile, mass-appeal events – a multi-million dollar daredevil stunt, a royal wedding, the Olympics. Even major-name concerts “only” attract numbers in the tens of thousands.
For international broadcasters and niche media players, guys like Felix and his patrons at Red Bull are doing everyone in the streaming world a favor — literally opening eyes to the potential for video streaming at both the consumer and producer levels.
Category: Ideas and Innovation