Mission Stratos: Felix-mania on TV and web

He soard up high, fell and left his footprints in world’s history: Extreme sportsman Felix Baumgartner beat a lot of existing records when he jumped from the stratosphere yesterday. But it was not just a success for him. The TV channels and social media platforms that reported about the event were rewarded, too – with great viewing rates.

Sunday, October 14, 2012, 8 pm central European summertime: “Stratonaut” Felix Baumgartner is getting to the edge of his balloon capsule in more than 39.000 metres of height. He says a few words, tells the mission control that he’s “coming home”, salutes and jumps out of the capsule. After 40 seconds he reaches supersonic speed as the first human being ever. Moments later, people all over the world hold their breath as Felix starts to spin like a whirligig. The 43-year-old is able to stabilize his fall, however, and after four minutes and 20 seconds he opens his parachute and lands in the desert of Roswell, New Mexico, safely.

#stratos: I also twittered about it.

The pictures of the Red Bull-sponsored “Mission Stratos” were shown all over the world. Austrian TV-stations that reported about the event had excellent viewing rates. The well-known journalist @ArminWolf informed his followers on Twitter that 2.28 million people had watched the livejump on ORF and 830.000 on the private channel ServusTV. But this event was not just a boon for TV-stations, it was also a number one-topic in social networks.

Event attracts social media users

According to forbes.com, more than eight million people watched the YouTube-livestream of “Mission Stratos”. Therefore, the event had 16-times more viewers than the old record holder: A livestream of the Olympics in London was only watched by 500,000 people. More interesting numbers for other social networks were published by the website dawn.com. It reported about the effect of a photo that was posted on Facebook from Red Bull. The picture that shows Baumgartner on his knees after landing was shared 29,000 times, liked 216,000 times and commented 10,000 times within 40 minutes.

During the jump and shortly after the safe landing of the extreme sportsman, people started discussing the event intensively. It is said that in this time, almost half of the worldwide trending topics had something to do with “Mission Stratos”. Even on Reddit, two threads about the jump made the front page. Of course, there is a lot more data that proves the success of the operation in social networks. An infographic of the German Social Media Akademie provides a good summary of it.

So one thing is clear: The event that had been professionally planned and prepared for five years was a huge success. There is just one question left to answer that has not been discussed at all: Who has profited most of “Mission Stratos”? Felix Baumgartner, the media companies or Red Bull?

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