For the most part, yes.
A huge online audience, many watching from PCs at work where TV wasn't available, streamed the event live. That taxed the Internet's overall performance and slowed some sites, according to Keynote Systems, a website monitoring firm.
The ripples were felt nationwide. It took Talia Andrews, a public relations representative in New York, up to a minute to change Web pages. "It shows how an event can really reshape the way we use the Internet."FIND MORE STORIES IN: Facebook | Twitter | CNN | MTV
Millions of streams burdened the Internet as the four major TV networks, cable news outlets and social-networking services provided live coverage.
Like other major news operations, CNN.com added live-video streaming capacity. It drew 781,000 concurrent live streams at its peak, based on internal data. During the presidential inauguration, CNN set a single-day record as the Internet's largest live-video event, with 1.3 million concurrent live streams.
MSNBC.com on Tuesday drew 510,000 concurrent live streams at its peak.
While comments about Jackson seemed to dominate Twitter, Facebook users posted 800,000 status updates on the event. (By comparison, there were 1.8 million updates with "Obama" during the inauguration.)
The social network, which teamed with ABC News, CNN, E Online and MTV to offer live streams, says its Michael Jackson page hit nearly 7 million fans, possibly making it the largest following of anyone on the Web.
Digital technology let 47 movie theaters in 24 states present the tribute for local audiences.
AEG Live on Sunday tapped Cinedigm Digital Cinema to broadcast the event live via satellite to theaters equipped with digital projectors. The company and the theaters showed the tribute for free, using Twitter and other social networks to get the word out that tickets would be on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Cinedigm CEO Bud Mayo says the modest cost was far outweighed by the public relations boost it provides his effort to build a network of theaters that sells tickets for concerts, sports and other events. "Our mission is transformative," he says. "It's to change the way a movie theater is used and fill seats that are empty 90% of the time. This is about complementing the movie industry, not replacing it."