U.S. Midterm Elections May Rival Soccer World Cup Web Record

U.S. President Barack Obama during his inauguration
The biggest single event for Internet viewings before the World Cup was Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2008. Photographer: Dennis Brack/Bloomberg

The U.S. midterm elections tomorrow may rival Internet traffic records for video viewings set during the soccer World Cup, according to Web service company Akamai Technologies Inc.

More than 1.5 million simultaneous viewings were recorded during the soccer tournament in June, Akamai Chief Executive Officer Paul Sagan said today in an interview in London. “Those are TV-sized ratings now being done over the Internet,” he said. Viewings for the elections are “probably even-odds on whether it beats the World Cup.”

About 20 percent of the world’s Internet traffic is delivered over Akamai’s platform, the Cambridge, Massachusetts- based company says on its website. The biggest single event for Internet viewings before the World Cup was Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2008. Akamai’s software helps websites stream video content faster online.

President Obama is seeking support from voters to help his Democrat Party retain control of Congress. The midterm campaign has been shaped by a national unemployment rate at or above 9.5 percent for the last 14 months, criticism of the White House’s domestic agenda and an anti-Washington sentiment reflected in the Tea Party movement.

Video viewings may be spread out throughout the night as polls close across the country, Sagan said.

Last month, Akamai confirmed it was on target to hit $1 billion in full-year revenue because of increasing demand for software to stream online media and trade applications.

The company, which has $1.2 billion in cash and cash equivalents, is also seeking acquisitions or partnerships in mobile technology and online security services, Sagan said today. Akamai bought mobile-services platform Velocitude in June to help stream online content for display on smartphones.

“As e-commerce has grown so much, effectively the stakes have gone up,” the CEO said. “There are plenty of bad guys trying to take down websites and create security vulnerabilities.”

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE