Obama Inauguration Sets Standard For Live Video Streaming

On January 20th, CNN.com served over 21.3 million live video streams of President Obama’s Inaugural Address, breaking CNN.com’s previous daily-streaming record (5.3 million on Election Day). Page views swelled to 136 million. The CNN feed also included a sidebar that allowed Facebook users to comment live on the speech. Others watched on CBS.com, Washingtonpost.com or Boston.com. This deluge of simultaneous video streaming produced a few minor glitches on MSNBC.com (time lag) and Hulu.com (choppy) and took down some sites, such as the BBC. But, for the most part, inaugural video streamers pushed Internet bandwidth to the limit, and it held.

Search also played a major role in helping people find the inauguration video. Right before Obama was sworn-in, the top searches on Google included “inauguration day 2009 streaming,” “cnn inauguration,” “cnn live stream,” “live inauguration,” and “watch inauguration live online.” The rest of the top 10 searches on Google all related to the inauguration:



In terms of advertisers taking advantage of the huge spike in inauguration-related paid search keywords, it seemed as if Google wasn’t allowing advertisers to bid on those terms, perhaps out of deference to the new President. On Yahoo!, we saw advertisers using paid search to try to sell commemorative inauguration memorabilia, t-shirts, and coins. Some advertisers were even promoting the inauguration video:


Although no paid search ads were running on Google.com for the keyword “inauguration,” we did capture a few YouTube sponsored video ads that were running before the ceremony and also the next day:

Obama YouTube

YouTube was the place for people to watch Obama’s speech again, the C-SPAN version of the address garnering over 1.5 million views within 24 hours of the inauguration. Users could also watch the AP version of the video on YouTube or on Google News, where it was embedded in the search results for the term “inauguration video.”

The large-scale live streaming of the inauguration has set the new standard for live Web video. Massive demand, search and bandwidth all successfully converged the afternoon of January 20, 2009, ushering in a new President, and perhaps a new era of simultaneous live-video streaming.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Video | Video Search


About The Author: specializes in increasing visibility and traffic to large retail, publisher, lead generation, and financial Web sites as the Vice President of Client Services for Performics.

Connect with the author via: Email


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.

Comments are closed.


Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide