It should come as no surprise that I found the technology behind this years college basketball tournament more interesting than the games themselves – despite this fact I did win in my CBSsports.com bracket! (much to the chagrin of fellow players who all knew I am not a huge college basketball fan)
CBSSports.com said it streamed more than 11.7 million hours of video to some 8.3 million unique visitors, including nearly 600,000 UVs for the championship game that saw Duke beat Butler.
…and some context from the same article on what this means for the bottom line;
…ad revenue for the tournament was up a solid 20 percent from a year ago to “at least $38.4 million.” While the total is just a slice of what CBS brought in overall for March Madness, it’s growing at an accelerating pace, and that’s something the broadcast side can’t claim. Consider that in 2006, CBS estimated its MMoD revenue at $4 million, or just 0.8 percent of the revenue of the broadcast tournament. It increased to 1.7 percent in 2007, 3.5 percent in 2008 and 4.8 percent in 2009.
By eliminating the obstacles people had to go through, they actually increased viewership and streams which directly contributed to their bottom line. Unlike the Vancouver Olympics streaming disaster by NBC, there was no authentication necessary to start watching the games.
While NBC had basically DRM’d the Olympics, CBSSports had opened up the streams and won out.
This is the same dialogue that revolves around the music industry, the happenings with Hulu and online broadcast, and many other areas where the gatekeepers want to continue their stronghold over content. This is a great case study into the affects of a large publisher and content distributer (CBS) opening up the floodgates and actually seeing a meaningful lift in revenues and customer satisfaction.
By having a platform that was free, and encouraged watching through a authorized source fans were happy and advertisers were in front of streaming viewers. Whether or not the campaigns were effective is another story, but the basic principles of where and how data should be accessible are all there.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
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- March Madness: CBSSports.com Says It Served 3.4 Million Live Hours On Day One (paidcontent.org)
- NCAA March Madness Brings In More Viewers Online (blogs.wsj.com)