The phrase "take a flying leap" is generally used dismissively, but in Felix Baumgartner's case, people definitely showed interest. A lot of interest.
Austrian daredevil Baumgartner's record-breaking Oct. 14 freefall jump from 24 miles above the earth delivered online and television views nearly as lofty as the leap itself, amassing more than 50 million YouTube views and setting a record for the Discovery Channel, which aired the jump.
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According to Red Bull — the jump was part of the Red Bull Stratos Mission, which was created by Baumgartner and the energy drink giant — Baumgartner's jump received 52 million YouTube views through the course of the event, with 8 million concurrent visitors checking it out at its peak.
Baumgartner's act of derring-do also provided a big boost to Discovery Channel, which drew 7.6 million total viewers throughout its airing of the event. Discovery's presentation of the jump averaged 4.21 million total viewers. In all, Baumgartner's jump became the highest-rated non-primetime program in Discovery's history.
Baumgartner, 43, broke world records for highest freefall and highest manned balloon flight with his jump.