Tiny TV channel hits new heights on space jump

Tiny TV channel hits new heights on space jump
Photo: DPA
Extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner not only broke three world records on Sunday when he skydived from the edge of space to earth – he also helped German news broadcaster n-tv to rack up its best ever viewing numbers.

The rolling news channel normally fails attract the masses in Germany which is still very traditional in its viewing habits. But on Sunday it hit dizzying heights when 7.1 million people tuned in to watch Baumgartner’s 39km freefall.

A further 640,000 watched it live online via the broadcaster’s website. This saw the news channel minnow outstrip giant state broadcaster ARD, which clocked up 5.6 million viewers.

It also broke the channel’s viewer record by far; its previous high was when 5.5 million watched its live coverage of Michael Jackson’s funeral.

During the actual jump, 19.9 percent of people watching television in Germany at that time were watching n-tv. Normally on a Sunday evening this figure is around just one percent, a spokesman from the channel confirmed.

“Thanks to Baumgartner the quota was twenty times higher (than normal),” he said.

Baumgartner jumped from a balloon floating 39 kilometres above the earth. Hitting a top speed of 1,342 kmph, he broke the sound barrier before releasing his parachute and landing in New Mexico, in the US.

DAPD/The Local/jcw

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