From Live8 to Live Earth

Live EarthThese two events bookend the evolution of online video, from novelty to mainstream phenomenon.

The AOL-streamed concert event Live8 (global poverty relief) took place in July, 2005. It was a watershed event for online video and clearly bested the MTV coverage of the concerts. A little over a year later Google acquired YouTube for $1.6 billion.

This past weekend, MSN was the exclusive online broadcaster of Live Earth (concert for climate crisis). The event was surrounded by corporate sponsors seeking to associate themselves with the “green movement” and popular music but also seeking to reach the demographic segments watching the concerts online. (Microsoft also used the opportunity to heavily promote its iPod rival Zune.)

It’s interesting to reflect on how quickly online video has become a serious, mainstream phenomenon and a longer-term threat to traditional TV. It’s not a threat to the bigger screen in the living room, which will see more and more Internet content, but the traditional model of broadcast and cable TV.

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