Online Broadcasting Reinvented

On Sunday something remarkable happened. YouTube drew 8 million concurrent livestreams, the most people ever to watch a single online event — Austrian Felix Baumgartner’s space jump from 24 miles high (39km). Baumgartner broke the speed of sound record, reaching 834mph (1,342kph) during a nine-minute descent.

Not only was the web video a tremendously exciting production with a lot of tension and simply stunning, ethereal scenery, but as AllthingsD reports, the broadcast far outdistanced previous big streaming events, including Google’s YouTube Olympics coverage and President Obama’s inauguration.

Sponsored by Red Bull, Felix Baumgartner’s 24-mile-high space jump was a milestone for online video and portends an exciting future for the medium.

Google served up roughly 500,000 concurrent streams during the Olympics this summer. Akamai reported that it served up 7 million streams of the inauguration to various online sites, but not all of them were live video.

This was a major victory for YouTube because it proves that the popular online video destination can now rightfully take its place among major broadcast networks. It was also a big win for sponsor Red Bull, its Stratos-branded mission basked in the afterglow of a spectacular jump.

Salesforce’s Radian6 reported that the Stratos mission drew more than 2.6 million social media mentions on Sunday alone, with #Livejump and #redbullstratos hashtags leading the way.

This was definitely the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen online. It was exciting and suspenseful. Kudos to Red Bull for sponsoring such an incredible feat of sportsmanship. If this points to the future of online broadcasting, I’m in.