'Flying' Felix Baumgartner’s Jump Pulls Daytime Ratings Record for Discovery

European Skydiver Draws Global Web, TV Audience

Arnold Schwarzenegger has long been the world's most widely recognized Austrian. But in 2012, fellow countryman Felix Baumgartner drew a global crowd across TV, the Internet and social media. The European, sponsored by Red Bull, set the world record for the highest, fastest and longest skydive and became an overnight sensation. YouTube said his stunt drew a record for live streams, with more than 8 million people worldwide tuning in to watch online.

Felix Baumgartner, who set the new world record for highest skydive on Sunday afternoon when he dropped 24 miles from the stratosphere, is also responsible for a new feat in ratings.

Discovery Channel's live coverage of the event, Space Jump Live, hit a new network record for non-primetime programming. The seven-hour Discovery News special devoted to the jump pulled in an average 4.21 million viewers to the network. It also won the adults 25-54 demo (2.02 rating) across over all of TV for all of the day's non-primetime and non-sports broadcasts -- though one could argue that the extreme athlete's stunt counts as sports.

The cumulative score for Discovery's Space Jump coverage is a whopping 7.6 million total viewers.

And Baumgartner's jump fared even better elsewhere. The Red-Bull-sponsored event streamed on YouTube, at one point reaching north of eight million simultaneous views.