Tuesday, February 7, 2012, 5:50 PM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
The first-ever streaming Super Bowl attracted over 2.1 million unique viewers, who consumed 78.6 million minutes. That surpassed NBC's expectations, according to Kevin Monaghan, SVP, Business Development and Managing Director of Digital Media at NBC Sports Group, who said that usage increased throughout the game and peaked in Q4 during the Giants' final touchdown drive. According to Omniture and mDialog data, it was the most-viewed live-streamed single game ever.
To put the 2.1 million into a little more context, Nielsen said the game drew 111 million TV viewers, so streaming would be approximately 1.9% of TV's audience. By comparison, NBC's Sunday Night Football games, which were also available via streaming, typically gained 200K-300K viewers vs. approximately 20 million TV viewers, or 1% to 1.5% of TV. These numbers are not exact, but it's probably fair to say that Super Bowl and SNF streaming percentages vs. TV are in about the same range. NBC is not sharing the peak viewership level. As one other data point on total streaming viewership, last November CBS Sports attracted over 214K streaming viewers to the LSU-Alabama football game.
Kevin also said NBC was pleased with viewer engagement. Viewers manipulated the five available camera angles 1.8 million times throughout the game and also watched 1.8 million VOD clips. These were dominated by streaming viewers re-watching the ads from the broadcast (note the stream had five separate "digital-only" advertisers, but as soon as the TV ads were broadcast they became available in the online video player). Other VOD clips accessed included game highlights, the national anthem, etc.
Kevin reiterated NBC's goal was to make the streaming version a second-screen complementary experience, rather than just a simulcast. NBC was pleased with what it learned which can be carried over to its next big streaming sports project, the Summer Olympics from London. I had previously expressed skepticism about how significant streaming the Super Bowl would be given that it is the biggest made-for-TV event of the year. However, if you look at NBC's efforts as being early stage, with lots more features to be added in the future, there could be compelling reasons for even more people to stream in parallel down the road.
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