Red Bull the Drink that’s a TV Channel

15 10 2012

When Neil Armstrong became the first human to step onto the surface of the moon in July 1969, an estimated 500 million people worldwide watched the event.  When Felix Baumgartner in a suit reminiscent of those worn by the Apollo astronauts, leapt from his Zenith capsule 24 miles above the Earth’s surface the audience was a mere 8 million. The difference was no broadcast channel was carrying the live footage.

Red Bull’s Stratos Channel on YouTube beat the previous record for a live YouTube broadcast by seven and a half million.  The Channel has also racked up an astonishing 367 million views in total with three quarters of a million subscribers which should serve it well with YouTube’s latest search algorithm.

The event was significant because Baumgartner broke records for the highest jump and became the first man to break the sound barrier, but the way it was viewed was significant too.  It has been true for years that you don’t need to be a broadcaster to broadcast, but this was a defining moment in demonstrating that event TV doesn’t need a conventional TV channel.   Red Bull isn’t just the sponsor it’s the media owner and that’s a much more powerful position to be in.   You can see the highlights in this 90 second round-up – courtesy of Red Bull.

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Politics and the Social Web

26 05 2009

In the words of Dan Rather the US veteran TV news anchor “Candidates do hate, genuinely hate, audience participation, because they like to control the environment,” When faced with the idea that voters will ask them questions via a YouTube video, he says, and “they get the shivers.”

 The long-term effects of using generated content and other aspects of the social web on our political systems will be fascinating to observe.  There is no walk of life where messages have been more tightly controlled than in the political arena.  As brands and corporate bodies begin to learn that they are operating in world where the customer talks back, politicians will come to learn that they need to do far more than pay lip service to their promises of listening to and respecting the opinions of their electorate.   

 The level of scrutiny that they will face will continue to increase and there will be greater availability of physical records in terms of audio visual recordings of what they do and what they say.  These records will be searchable and will exist for very long time making politicians ever more accountable for their promises.





Web Star Susan Boyle

20 04 2009

Susan Boyle is racking up close to 100 million views on Youtube with versions of her singing performance on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’.  It isn’t a true example of an internet meme because it was propelled by broadcast TV but it shares many of the characteristics.  

Youtube has played a key role in spread of great number of memes.   The ‘Rickrolling’ phenomenon is ‘the’ classic example.  Rick Astley was a UK popstar who had number one hits on both sides of the Atlantic in the 1980s (full disclosure…and showing off; I had the pleasure working with Rick Astley in a PR capacity at the start of his singing career).  His still catchy hit “Never Gonna Give You Up”  went to number one throughout Europe and in Australia in 1987 and hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States on March 12, 1988. 

Rickrolling was a prank which originated on the image board site 4chan in which a link to somewhere (such as a specific picture or news item) would instead lead to a video of Rick performing ‘Never Gonna Give You Up”.  The first instance of a Rickroll claimed to be a link to the first trailer for Grand Theft Auto IV but instead it took you to Rick.  The prank quickly spread across the web.  Because most of the links were to Youtube they quickly became aware of the phenomenon and on April 1st 2008 as an April Fool joke the web site Rickrolled everybody who clicked on one of their front page featured videos.  There are several Rickroll links on Youtube which have had a combined total of hits of over thirty million.





It’s April Fool You Twit(ter)

1 04 2009

poisson1April Fools Day has always provided a license to the media to print and broadcast outlandish and far fetched tales.  This year more than ever social media has followed in the footsteps of its conventional cousin. Heres are some of the best. Please use the comments section to add your own and if you are wondering about the fish …ask the French.

Youtube’s ‘Country Filter’ has resulted in UK viewers getting Australian settings all videos they view, resulting in inversion of clips and text.

GMail has introduced an autoresponder that reads and responds to your e-mail so you don’t have to.  The problems kick in when two parties both turn it on “two Gmail accounts can happily converse with each other for up to three messages each. Beyond that, our experiments have shown a significant decline in the quality ranking of Autopilot’s responses.”

 @shengri_la: i changed my birthday on FB to april 1st just to mess with people. and also to see who actually knows my bday.

Labour MP Tom Harris backs a blogging counter terrorism bill “from April 2010, every British blogger will have to submit each post for official approval”.

The Guardian will publish its content exclusively on twitter consigning the print editions to the footnotes of history.   The Guardian and Twitter will also launch Gutter, a service designed to “filter noteworthy liberal opinion from the cacophony of Twitter updates”. 

….Oh and the entire internet is being rebooted.

Press F13 on your keyboard to access a complete list of today’s social web April Fools pranks.








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