MSNBC & FeedRoom Execs Relay Unprecedented Sept. 11 Video-Streaming Tales and Numbers

Exclusive quotes gathered by InteractiveTV Today. Reprinted by Videomaker with permission from Tracy Swedlow, InteractiveTV Today.

InteractiveTV Today ( recently published the following accounts of how and The FeedRoom, a 24-hour Internet-driven VOD news-feed service, which enjoys strong broadcast partnerships with NBC, Tribune Media, and GBC, were able to capture the New York City crisis as it unfolded last week.

The FeedRoom – CEO Jon Klein’s account of how the company managed to broadcast its VOD service remotely:

“Until Tuesday, our office windows were filled with a vista of the twin towers.
Our staff saw and heard the first impact, then the second, then the collapses. Being news people, we immediately rolled a video camera after the first plane hit, and posted that clip within minutes of the first impact. Our building was evacuated at 11AM, because it sits atop the Holland Tunnel, a prime potential target. But five of us stayed for three more hours to make sure that
WNBC’s (the NBC-owned station in NYC) live coverage was streaming on all 26 local FeedRoom sites that we run for NBC, as well as on the main FeedRoom site.

We also had staff at each of the NBC stations around the country – enabling us to vacate the building but continue to cover the story remotely. Using the Web, our IT staff tweaked the servers from their homes, to allow the machines to shoulder the surging traffic. We’ve served tens of millions of live and VOD news clips this week without service interruptions. You can watch the latest developments on TV over your computer, while accessing through VOD the parts of the story that most interest you. And most interesting of all, I doubt that our many viewers could tell that through it all, there was absolutely no one at FeedRoom HQ-a true testament to the ability of ITV technology to increase the flow of information. This weekend we will still be working round the clock, but at least some of our employees will begin to have a little time to catch their breaths and reflect upon the awful human toll of this tragedy, a tragedy that we witnessed from our back porch.” – Michael Silberman, Managing Editor East Coast:

On Tuesday 9/11 we played a total of 12 million video streams. Of those [streams], 6.28 million were live streams (Note: each time someone clicks the play button on our live video and
watches for a while, that counts as a stream). We also played 5.75 million ‘on demand’ streams — the total number of plays for the various cut clips we’ve got on the site. To put the video
plays in context, our previous top video day was the Seattle earthquake, with about 900,000 live video streams and 390,000 on demand streams. So, our video usage yesterday was something
more than TEN times our previous high.

As the week went on, we continued to play huge amounts of video, roughly 8-10 million streams each day. As far as the content we were streaming, we had live streams of MSNBC and NBC News coverage, press conferences and live statements by NYC officials, the president and his key cabinet officials, live feeds of rescue efforts, etc. Anything you might have wanted to see on television was available on our site, with the added advantage that you could watch it at work, and could see material on demand as well as live. For our overall traffic, we had approximately 13 million users. That compares to 3 million users on an average weekday, and is double our previous peak of 6.5 million users the day after the election last year.”

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