Satellite operator Intelsat marks the 35th anniversary of Live Aid concert which took place to raise money for famine-stricken countries in Africa. Intelsat’s global satellite network was integral to powering this historical event.
The 16-hour “super concert” featured more than 75 acts, including Queen, Run DMC, Paul McCartney, Madonna and Elton John performing in two spots: Wembley Stadium in London and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia.
A crowd of more than 150,000 watched in-person at these sites but 13 satellites, including five Intelsat satellites, beamed the broadcast live to televisions and radios across the globe.
According to historical accounts, it was one of the largest-scale satellite link-ups and television broadcasts of all time, with an estimated audience of 1.9bn, across 150 nations.
In fact, according to a 1985 article from Broadcasting Magazine,“11 channels on five Intelsat satellites were among the six satellites used for the international transmission of the event.”
The broadcast required between 13-16 hours of transmission time. “No one has ever required such massive amounts of time,” said Jim Tuverson, head of Television Videotape Satellite Communications Group’s West Coast operation, at the time.