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Commentary: Felix Baumgartner’s space jump breaks records, shatters Internet views

Courtesy of MCT

There might come a time in the not-so-distant future when all of our entertainment is accessed through the Internet. When that time comes, this past Sunday might be looked upon as one of the turning points.

A portion of the world was looking to the sky Sunday as Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner boarded a capsule that took him more than 128,000 feet into the stratosphere, and then jumped. On the way down he broke multiple records. He reached speeds of 833.9 miles per hour, and thus became the first human being to break the sound barrier in freefall. His jump also set the altitude record.

There was one other record broken during the event as well. More than 8 million people watched the jump live on YouTube, which completely shattered the previous mark of 500,000 seen during the 2012 Olympics in London. This was a stunt that captivated much of the world, and with numbers like this, you can certainly expect other companies to try and get in on the live-streaming action.

To put these numbers in perspective, most network television shows would kill to have 8 million viewers. NBC’s new comedy “Go On,” which the network is touting as one of the season’s big hits, pulled in just 6.65 million viewers in its last airing.

There are already signs that a major shift to the Internet is under way. YouTube has recently started teaming up with various websites and groups to make channels that create original content and function much like an on-demand service that could be found on TV. These channels are creating programs that people are interested in, and they give people the option of watching the videos whenever they’d like.

In fact, Baumgartner’s jump was streamed right on Red Bull’s original YouTube channel. YouTube has also given original channels to Grantland, Shaquille O’Neal, Bleacher Report, Motor Trend, Vice, and many others. The Nerdist channel also received attention recently when it collaborated with the Henson Company to produce the new music video for Ben Folds Five.

However, Baumgartner’s jump is a whole other beast simply because it could be watched right as it was happening. The more live events start to pop up online, the more appealing the Internet is sure to be when content producers start to ponder where to put their creations. TV isn’t going to die anytime soon, but with each passing day it seems more and more convenient options are popping up elsewhere. Baumgartner’s jump was not only an incredible physical feat that shattered pre-existing records, but an event that could raise a lot of eyebrows in the media industry as well.

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