Increase in Super Bowl Streaming Viewership Galvanizes Advertisers

Super Bowl XLVIII
Super Bowl XLVIII logo
As the Seattle Seahawks summarily slaughtered the Denver Broncos during the Super Bowl over the past weekend, 528,000 unique viewers tuned in to watch the big game on a device that wasn't their home television.

The event was streamed legally online, via the NFL and websites, as well as through the NFL Mobile and FOXSports Go apps.

While FOX’s app normally requires a paid subscription, they allowed viewers to try it out for free just for the game, in an effort to highlight their mobile advancements.

2014 is the third straight year that streaming viewership has increased, from 508,000 on CBS’ website last year and 346,000 on NBC’s in 2012, reported a FOX press release.

This year’s game became the most-watched event in United States television history, with 111.5 million viewers, trouncing the previous record of 2012’s Super Bowl, which had 111.3 million.

As the concept of utilizing phones and alternative technologies for viewing sports and TV shows receives more and more attention, advertisers, broadcasters and media businesses are looking for the best methods to monetize overall consumption and develop strategies for seeking out individual viewers.

In fact, many companies are discovering that ads released or teased online prior to the airing of the game are more effective. According to Tim Calkins, a Northwestern University marketing professor, “It is not about winning the Super Bowl but winning an entire month.” A Budweiser spot featuring a puppy and a Clydesdale horse gained considerable traction, as did an endeavor from Cheerios showcasing a family.

FOX Sports

Visible Measures, a video analytics firm, observed that from 2010-2014, the number of companies engaging in pre-game advertising has continually gone up

Previously, research companies such as Omniture (Web analytics) and mDialog (video advertising) tracked streaming data; the former was acquired by Adobe, where they now monitor social media mentions, while the latter has recently emerged as an industry leader, securing two innovative patents for “dynamically inserting content into streaming media.”

Looking ahead, digital-only second-screen ads will likely become the mainstay, with those who stream sporting events receiving advertisements selected specifically for that platform, or even microtargeted per individual. Anvato, Fox Sports’ streaming video platform provider, acknowledged as much in a press release Monday, proclaiming that “ads different from the traditional TV ads” were deployed.

With this burgeoning movement, questions arise. Will the prices for these new mobile ads reach the soaring costs of the television ones, which hit approximately $4 million for 30 seconds? And will advertisers request packages that include digital and traditional advertisements?

Author: Brian Cameron


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