Jumping up on some big digital numbers, YouTube had 52 million views for Felix Baumgartner’s big 24-mile parachute jump -- a record drop. More importantly, YouTube had 8 million "concurrent" live views.
That blows away the number of some 500,000 live YouTube viewers for this past summer's London Olympic games or -- also from the U.K. -- Kate Middleton's marriage to British royalty.
Discovery Channel was in on the action. Actually getting somewhat less raw numbers than YouTube, Discovery drew 7.6 million total viewers, and its presentation of the jump averaged 4.21 million total viewers. All this became the highest-rated non-prime-time program in Discovery's history.
Where's the better marketing value? Does it matter? For those of you who only casually heard about this effort, the jump was called the Red Bull Stratus Mission. Virtually the entire effort was a big marketing push by the Austrian-based energy drink company -- complete with lots of Red Bull on-air signage.
The reported cost: $65 million, a rather expensive effort. For that much money you could buy a top-level year-long marketing partnership on "American Idol" (when it was somewhat of a bigger deal that it is today).
But this wasn't just a U.S. thing, with some 40 TV networks in 50 countries and some 130 digital outlets participating. Not only that, but Red Bull would reason that pre-and post-jump coverage has in fact extended its association with this effort. Red Bull has made it an overall marketing strategy to be well-associated with extreme sports/action sports over the last few years.
From the wildly successful YouTube point of view, the fact that viewers could easily access the jump while at work or on the go during their day made instant media sense. And after all, what U.S. shows on daytime TV get 8 million... of anything? The answer is zero. Not only that but reports suggest the 52 million number more than equals the total of the top 35 YouTube channels.
Is that what other marketers need to do? To get this kind of brand association, should many look to create big, unique live events as well -- with hopefully very long tails?
Well, yes. But what about ROI? Hmmm... better just take the big leap and hope for a safe landing.