How far we have come since Live 8 …. tonight’s hastily produced multi-country Hope for Haiti Now benefit could wind up being the most-watch digital fundraising event ever. It’s certainly the largest distribution effort, with live streaming of the entire two hours promised on more than three dozen sites in the U.S. and internationally, as well as the sites of cable operators and telcos. The mobile commitment is equally strong, with live streaming across major carriers and devices, also by continuing to collect text donations (“GIVE” to 50555). [9:30 p.m.: The video streaming is going fine on mobile and online but HopeforHaiti.org crashed; if it’s down. donations can go directly to the organizations: Clinton Bush Haiti Fund; United Nations World Food Programme (WFP); Oxfam America; Partners in Health; the Red Cross; UNICEF; and Yele Haiti Foundation.]
On the social media end, all of the stops are being pulled out as companies throw everything they’ve learned and created since the last big digital event — Barack Obama’s inauguration — at the effort to raise money for Haiti, including Twitter promoting the effort with hashtag #igave across every user profile page. (Maybe we could raise money with a “guess the number of fail whales” contest.) One new idea is Hope For Haiti Now Twitter Tracker from Stamen Design showing the way conversation is spreading globally.
The telethon is just the first part of the fundraising, which continues with audio and video download sales on iTunes, Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) and Rhapsody. Pre-orders have already started on iTunes for the full performance album ($7.99) and the two-hour video ($2.99), including an exclusive studio track from Jay-Z, Bono, The Edge and Rihanna. Individual performance downloads from Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay, John Legend and more will run $.99 each. The music stores, the artists and the record labels are donating all proceeds to the charities included in Hope for Haiti.
Live streaming: The two-hour telethon will be live streamed in its entirety across sites including: ABC.com, AOL (NYSE: AOL), AT&T (NYSE: T) Entertainment, Bebo, Bild Germany, Bing, Buddy TV, Causecast, CBS.com, CNN.com, Eonline.com, EpixHD.com, Facebook, Fancast, Gawker, GlobalGrind.com, Habbo UK, Huffington Post, Hulu, Metacafe, MSN, MySpace, NBC.com, Oprah.com, OurStage.com, PerezHilton, Rhapsody, Veoh, VEVO, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) and YouTube. The live streaming is powered via the Akamai (NSDQ: AKAM) HD Network. Live streaming also will be made available online by major cable and telco operators as well including AT&T, Bright House Networks, Charter (NSDQ: CHTR), Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA), Cox Communications, Mediacom, Suddenlink, Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Warner Latin America and Wide Open West.
MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA) sites including MTV.com, VH1.com, Nick.com, TeenNick.com, AddictingGames.com, ParentsConnect.com, Shockwave.com, ComedyCentral.com, The DailyShow.com, ColbertNation.com, Jokes.com, Atom.com, Spike.com, GameTrailers.com and TVLand.com will all be promoting “Hope for Haiti Now” through live streaming of the event and the celebrity-manned phone banks, text alerts to registered users, on-demand video and post-show clips.
Mobile: The event will be live streamed via Alltel (NYSE: AT), Sprint (NYSE: S), Verizon Wireless, MobiTV, FloTV, via apps on iPhone, Palm (NSDQ: PALM), Inc. and Blackberry, and across MTV Networks mobile sites, which will be promoted via AT&T, PrimeTime2Go, Yahoo Mobile, AOL Mobile and the largest mobile ad networks.
International: Internationally, users can watch via a multi-language site (21 languages), hope.mtv.com, which will include information on the telethon, links to the donation site, a central Facebook connect widget and links to the Twitter Tracker.