The first Victoria's Secret online fashion show also becomes the first major webcast, attracting an estimated 1.5 million viewers worldwide.
The 21-minute spectacle featured VS supermodel Tyra Banks and a pulchritudinous supporting cast flaunting the latest in boudoir apparel.
Six days earlier, in order to hype this moment in internet history, Victoria's Secret
spent a bundle to run a 30-second spot during Super Bowl XXXIII. It was the lingerie maker's only foray onto the world's biggest advertising stage until its return this year
Owing to the technology of 1999, the Spring Fashion webcast drew only a fraction of the viewers it might have attracted otherwise. The dot-com division of Victoria's Secret was barely two months old when the webcast aired through Broadcast.com, and its callowness showed.
The webcast was no Picasso
, that's for sure. The picture was jerky, and not in that way that pretentious filmmakers liked using for a few years, either. The audio cut in and out, too, although it's hard to imagine that much was lost in the way of insightful commentary.
Basically, the webcasters' ambitions exceeded what they could deliver. For one thing, they lacked a sufficient number of servers to handle the sudden spike in traffic, leaving a large number of potential viewers locked out. As the audience grew, Broadcast.com engineers scrambled to move things from one set of servers to another, but were eventually overwhelmed.
The geeks also made the conscious decision to support 28.8-Kbps modems at the expense of 56-Kbps users, despite the obvious drop-off in quality, in order to attract a larger audience.
Nevertheless, the brass was pleased with the overall results. The tech kinks were eventually worked out and the Victoria's Secret fashion webcast has since become an annual staple for lingerie aficionados and folks with, umm, related interests.
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