Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

UTube: 10 Million Streams for Bono and Co.’s Live Show

u2 youtubeWhat happens when one of the biggest bands in the world Webcasts a live concert on the world’s biggest video site?

You get a lot of video streams. Close to 10 million, says YouTube, adding that Sunday’s live Webcast of U2′s Rose Bowl concert was the single largest event it has streamed so far.

Granted, Google’s (GOOG) video site only started streaming live events last year, and doesn’t do them very often. But this was a pretty good muscle-flexing event, and by all accounts it went pretty well–I read some gripes about the site limiting transfer speeds, but many more raves about the quality of picture and sound.

That 10 million number, spread out over two-plus hours, doesn’t really tell us how many people watched the concert or how many did so concurrently. YouTube’s first attempt at live streaming, its weird “YouTube Live” concert/award show, may have attracted a peak audience of 700,000.

For some context, consider that last week’s episode of “The Mentalist” on CBS (CBS) drew 11.8 million viewers, which made it the 20th-ranked show in the U.S. But the fact that YouTube is even playing in the same league gives you a sense of the site’s reach.

And recall that YouTube boasted this month that it is now streaming more than one billion streams per day, which means that the overwhelming majority of its users were watching something other than Bono and company on Sunday.

You can see an amazingly high-quality version of the concert here, though it isn’t embeddable. But here’s a clip of a fake U2 concert from a couple of years ago.


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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google