Just as new technologies transformed the presidential campaign, today they revolutionized the way Americans experienced the inauguration.
More people watched this inauguration than perhaps any other event in history and on many more screens than ever before.
Not only are people watching on their televisions, they're also watching streaming video on their computers, phones, and on public screens across this country.
MSNBC is partnering with 27 multiplexes around the country to offer its live coverage on the big screen. I reported from one of those theaters in Los Angeles, The Bridge where more than 940 people had RSVP'd for the free tickets by last Thursday. It responded to the high demand by opening up four theaters. The scene was remarkable—the packed theater applauding, rising in silence as President Obama was sworn in, and singing along with the national anthem.
People wanted to experience this inauguration, and with as many media as possible.
MSNBC also broadcast to 650 Starbucks around the country. Hulu and Facebook both live-streamed the event, allowing their users to comment on the events in real-time. Sirius XM radio created a station dedicated entirely to inauguration coverage, in addition to its other regular 17 political and news channels which will also report on the day.
These radio, TV and Internet broadcasters didn't run ads during this inauguration, so their investment in this coverage is to showcase their capabilities and show their patriotism.
The inauguration will likely be the most-watched event of all time. About 241 million people watched the Beijing Olympics on NBC and its various online and mobile channels. This is likely to top that, but it's also impossible to measure. So many people will be watching in unmeasurable public places- train stations, schools, offices, you name it. And it'll be hard to measure how many people watch online streams, but it seems safe to say that this is a turning point for live online video. This coverage demonstrates just how much access online video can offer.
Note: MSNBC is part of the NBC Universal family and like CNBC, is owned by General Electric and Hulu is a joint venture of NBC Universal and News Corp .
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