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Clinton video helps Broadcast.com

The White House sex scandal is good news for Broadcast.com.

    The White House sex scandal is the worst thing that's happened to President Bill Clinton, but it may be the best thing that's happened to Broadcast.com.



    CNET Radio talks to Broadcast.com's Mark Cuban
     
    The company's shares gained nearly 15 percent today after Mary Meeker, an Internet analyst with investment bank Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, upgraded the stock to "outperform" from "neutral." The upgrade was based largely on increased traffic from users downloading the video of Clinton's grand jury testimony.

    Shares in Broadcast.com closed 6.625 points higher at 50.875 today after gaining 8 points or nearly 18 percent yesterday.

    The broadcaster of streaming media programming on the Web set a record yesterday with 50,000 simultaneous users. More than 1 million unique visitors accessed the site yesterday.

    When congressional staffers transmitted more than four hours of Clinton's August 17 testimony yesterday, Broadcast.com began streaming the video immediately. The company also supplied the "live" and on-demand video technology for many other sites, including news outlets CNN Interactive and MSNBC.

    The speed with which many sites posted the 445-page report by independent counsel Kenneth Starr and the multimedia aspects of the video have highlighted the advantages the Internet has over other mass media. Many pundits have heralded the Net's treatment of the scandal as the medium's finest hour, a sort of coming-of-age party.

    "Thanks to President Clinton and his grand jury testimony...yesterday was a big day in the evolution of the Internet," Meeker wrote in a report today. "We think that the impact of the Clinton events on the Web has created an important milestone for Web usage generally and for Broadcast.com specifically."

    Formerly called AudioNet, Broadcast.com gained prominence by carrying online the broadcasts of professional sporting events and television shows, as well as corporate meetings and financial conference calls.

    The company's initial public offering, which came at the height of the early-summer Internet stock frenzy, was one of the most successful IPOs in history. Shares shot up from 18 to 74 on the issue's first day of trading.

    The stock since has fallen back to earth, trading as low as 32.75 since it first went public in July.