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Ring of fire

Liberty Global

When Liberty Global, the world’s largest TV and broadband company, wanted to showcase the capability of its superfast broadband, demonstrating its stability and robustness, it decided that streaming live 360° pictures over the Internet would be a perfect way to do so. Such images are known in the industry to use a lot of bandwidth.

Liberty Global decided that, in order to bring its technology to life, it was necessary to choose a rare event that could only be seen by a few people in the world. Working with colleagues at VTR, a wholly owned subsidiary serving customers in Chile, Liberty Global embarked on a strategy to live stream a rare solar eclipse in 360° - the first time it had been attempted.

The initiative would also serve to highlight Liberty Global’s Gigaworld campaign, which will deliver benefits of gigabit broadband speeds throughout Europe and North America. Similarly, it was hoped that the campaign would encourage collaboration with colleagues across Liberty Global’s 30 plus operating companies, demonstrating the benefits of being part of a large global business.

The city of Coyhaique in Chile, known as the gateway to Patagonia, was one of three places in the world from which the eclipse could be viewed, but it is remote with limited Internet access. To capture this historic moment, Liberty Global installed a special fibre broadband connection powerful enough to carry bandwidth hungry 360° images which would be broadcast on YouTube. These pictures could bring a global audience to a prime position in the town square, giving them the feel of being there. A telescope was also installed, with close-up live pictures of the eclipse; its images were live streamed on Facebook.

In the run up to the eclipse on 26 February, the initiative received extensive local press and social media coverage in Chile and other Latin American countries. It was also covered by the technology media in Europe.

Liberty Global had only established its social media channels last year, and part of the rationale behind the campaign was to raise awareness of and increase engagement with these. On YouTube, Liberty Global and VTR together had 184,975 people watching the event live in 360°. Almost 131,000 people watched the eclipse on Liberty Global’s Facebook page. All told, the new social media channels reached more than 750,000 in the run up to, during and after the event. ‘This was a great campaign that showcased Liberty Global’s products in a clever and innovative way,’ said the judges.