130,000 people

As the Internet continues to evolve as a new medium, and Monday’s funeral of a murdered Toronto police officer offers further proof. More than 130,000 people turned to the Internet to watch funeral ceremonies for Detective Constable William Hancox, who was buried of St. Isaac Jogues Church. The live “cybercast” started at 10:00 a.m. (EST) and continued until the end of the church service at 1:30 p.m.

Producers of CyberTV say that the funeral broadcast is the “the largest video and audio event in the history of the Internet” surpassing last year’s Academy Awards and the “Internet birth”, which according to CyberTV were hampered by technical problems. The funeral service will be hosted at the site below for one month.

Whether this is an appropriate use of new media is a question each Internet user has to decide for themselves, but the event does point to the “narrowcasting” potential that the net offers. As technological capabilities continue to improve, we will see more and more “cybercasts” of events with a very focused (and sometimes very narrow) appeal. My prediction is that the real “500 channel universe” we’ve been waiting for will have 50,000 channels, and theyl come to you via the Internet. What you watch will still be a personal choice.