Felix Baumgartner’s Crazy Space Parachute Jump Is Live Web Video’s Biggest Event Ever
Daredevil Felix Baumgartner is currently headed to the outer edge of the Earth’s atmosphere in a balloon-powered space capsule. When he gets to 120,000 feet, he’ll jump out and attempt to parachute back to the planet and set a new world’s record.
Meantime, I believe that Baumgartner, his sponsor Red Bull and YouTube have already set a record: By YouTube’s count, there are more than two million livestreams of the event going out around the world. (Update: The audience for this one kept climbing as Baumgartner did. Latest total: 8 million.) The previous record for a single Web video service: Around 500,000 concurrent streams, which Google served up during the Olympics this summer.
(Thanks to Eugene Wei for reminding me that Barack’s Obama inauguration in 2009 set a different Web video streaming record: Web video utility Akamai reported that it served a peak of seven million streams to different Web video outlets, though not all of them were live video.)
There are a couple reasons this thing is so big on the Web: For starters, you can’t see it live anywhere else. (Correction: My mistake — in the U.S., the Discovery Channel is carrying the same stream live. Not sure about other countries.) Another reason: It’s a crazily exciting stunt, which means it should appeal to just about everyone, all around the world.
Update: Now that the original stream has ended, here’s a 90-second highlight reel of the mission.
There’s also a backstory here about YouTube’s ability to serve up this kind of live event with ease, but we’ll get to that later. For now, enjoy, and hold your breath.