Obama’s Presidential Inauguration | How Web Video Empowered Worldwide Viewers

1 min read

Online viewing figures for Obama’s inauguration are looking very impressive. But really, viewing figures take a back seat to the empowerment provided by the existence of Web video to stream this event in the first place. And here’s why.

Biggest Online Video Event?

The day before Barack Obama’s Presidential inauguration, I speculated that the event would be the biggest online video event ever. And there is strong evidence to suggest this did indeed turn out to be the case.

NewTeeVee suggests that Web video viewing figures were in the order of 70 million views.

This figure only includes the main U.S based live broadcasters. If we were to include worldwide viewers and also incorporate those who watched the recordings on YouTube and other video sharing sites, it would almost certainly exceed 200 million worldwide online viewers. A figure predicted by Chris Tew, webtvwire.com founder, before the Inauguration took place.

This compares to traditional television viewing figures in the U.S. of around the 40 million mark. But actually, the viewing figures aren’t all that important.

What is important instead is the choice online video gave to people all over the world. No longer does everyone have to be glued to their television sets in order to witness history – those key events are now accessible everywhere.

Empowerment Of Ordinary People

The inauguration of the 44th President happened in the daytime on a Tuesday for everyone in the U.S. and Europe, meaning most people were at work at the time. Except of course those that have lost their jobs due to the increasingly biting recession.

Years ago, these working people, surely the bread and butter of society, would have had no choice but to either have a day off or miss the live event completely. But this time around, those with access to either a computer, an iPhone, or any other sort of Internet-enabled device capable of playing video, didn’t need to miss out.

I firmly believe that historic moments such as this should be available to all, and online video is making that reality more possible. And the choices on offer for ways to watch the inauguration were many and varied.

Still A Way To Go

It didn’t all go smoothly, of course. Many of the Web video providers seemed to underestimate the number of people who would want to stream the event simultaneously as it happened, meaning many had the event spoiled by interrupted coverage and constantly being booted off.

But this will improve over time, especially as big media outlets realize the potential in providing the best Web coverage over their rivals.

Whether Obama’s inauguration was the biggest online video event ever or not matters less than the fact it was an online video event in the first place. That shows where we’re heading, and how all of us who use Web video are set to gain from its increasing importance in the grand scheme of things.