On Sunday October 14th 2012 the world took one large collective breath as Felix Baumgartner jumped out of a capsule 128,000 feet above Earth and managed to land on his feet uninjured in New Mexico.
A worldwide audience watched in anticipation live, via the internet through a simple camera mounted on the capsule, as he gave a quick thumbs up before jumping into what would be an intense 9 minutes of his life.
The leap (known as the “Red Bull Stratos” thanks to its sponsors) from the edge of the stratosphere managed to break not only the sound barrier but also the record for the highest number of YouTube viewers.
With a total of over 8 million viewers the video smashed the existing record, with AllThingsD stating the previous record to be:
“Around 500,000 concurrent streams, which Google served up during the Olympics this summer.”
With the video being streamed live for anyone across the world to view, could this be the start of a new era with YouTube channels taking over from mainstream television for live events?
On Twitter over half the worldwide trending topics were related to Felix’s jump and celebrities worldwide were tweeting about the event:
The Official Twitter account for Red Bull Stratos gained 103,129 followers and below you can see the 3 main hashtags used throughout the event on Twitter:
After Felix had safely landed, the event sponsor Red Bull posted a picture of him on his knees to their Facebook page. This picture was shared 29,000 times in the first 40 minutes and generated over 493,000 likes and 14,5000 comments. Using both Facebook and Twitter, Red Bull invited questions for Felix stating that 3 of them would be answered by the man himself at the post-jump conference.
This is a fantastic story of a man brave enough to jump from the edge of space back to earth but it is also an interesting take on how fast YouTube is becoming mainstream media and poses the question: how quickly could it take over as a global network?