George Michael banned the BBC from showing excerpts from his NetAid performance on Sunday night because he was unhappy with his performance. The show was streamed live on the internet,
According to a BBC spokesman: “We were informed that George Michael was not satisfied with his performance at NetAid and consequently he refused approval for any TV coverage anywhere in the world.”
Although the BBC did not broadcast the concert live on TV, it showed two programmes of highlights after midnight on Saturday and late last night.
Billed as the biggest event since Live Aid in 1985, NetAid was hyped as the moment that the World Wide Web became a significant cultural force (if it wasn’t already).
“Pop goes the internet” (or”cyberspace” and variations thereof) led off most of the stories in yesterday’s papers, though unlike Live Aid, most of the stories were downpagers inside rather than front page splashes.
To put the “billion hits” into perspective: it does not mean a billion separate users. It means that different elements on the NetAid site were clicked a billion times. If you go into a site and look at four other pages, it counts as five hits. If you lose your connection, or go somewhere else and come back, it counts as more hits. Most big commercial sites manage at least a billion hits.
But many papers reported that a billion people – “one sixth of humanity” as one put it – watched NetAid on their computers. Others claim that the figure was 50 million. Others claim it was one billion across all media whether on Radio, TV or the web.
Actually, the webcast broke the previous record of 12,500 simultaneous viewers,though it didn’t come anywhere near the maximum capacity of 125,000.
The concert was streamed live with backstage interviews – interestingly, with the presenters occasionally claiming in excited voices that a billion people all around the world were watching – though unless you had a fast connection, the video came up as a new frame every ten seconds or so. The audio was surprisingly good from the Wembley show, though it was AM radio quality rather than the FM stereo signal being broadcast on Radio 2.
But by the time the American leg got underway, the streaming quality dropped, no doubt due to heavier traffic from US users. So, apart from some stuttering and the odd frozen image, there wasn’t much to see or hear.
All three concerts sold out – Wembley had a 70,000 capacity – and all the artists performed for no fee, though unlike Live Aid, there was a lot of plugging of albums and singles.
The total amount raised is expected to be announced this evening on the NetAid web site.
So how much did you give them? Tell us what you think.