The live video of a man falling from space to become the first unaided human to break the sound barrier set a new record for live online viewing, as more than 8 million people watched the Red Bull Stratos stunt on YouTube.
Felix Baumgartner, 43, became the first skydiver to break the speed of sound as he jumped from an altitude of 128,100 feet above New Mexico, falling at an ultimate estimated 833.9 miles an hour (Mach 1.24) during his 10 minute descent.
The record viewing shows the Internet can attract substantial audiences for live events, traditionally television broadcasters’ most lucrative asset.
Millions of viewers could share what Baumgartner saw through a carefully choreographed set of cameras positioned on the capsule from which he leapt.
YouTube confirmed that Red Bull’s video feed of the ascent and return to earth topped 8 million concurrent live streams, the largest number in the site’s history. The previous high was 7 million online viewers watching President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.