Streaming the Super Bowl Will Be a Letdown for Many, Says Cedexis
Fox Sports might stream a record-breaking live event on Sunday when the Falcons face the Patriots, but no matter how strong the outcome it won't equal the broadcast TV experience, says Simon Jones, evangelist and director of marketing communications for web performance optimization company Cedexis.
"The bottom line isn’t that it’s going to be objectively worse, but that the setup guarantees it’ll be different to (and somewhat lower resolution than) TV even if everything works out great," Jones says.
Fox Sports and MLBAM are producing the Super Bowl this year and working with three CDNs—Akamai, Limelight, and Level3—for distribution. While Fox will create a top streaming resolution of 720p 60fps, it will likely hold that back for performance reasons and stream a top resolution of 720p 30fps. It's partnering with Conviva to monitor congestion and viewer quality.
"Part of the challenge is to distribute across all the available platforms (clouds and CDNs) in real-time. Without the confidence you can do that you have to do things like hold higher quality streams back in case bad things happen," Jones notes. "With real-time traffic routing optimized using real-time metrics from the audience, there would be a lot more flexibility to make the deeper choices."
Super Bowl-streamers will run into the double-digits this year, predicts native ad company MGID. According to a survey of 503 people it ran earlier this month, 16 percent will stream the game, with 2 percent streaming to a mobile device. Millennial viewers are far more likely to stream the Super Bowl, with 23.2 percent planning to do so compared to 12.9 percent of all other age groups.
Fox Sports streamed the Super Bowl without authentication to 7 million viewers, but a fourth quarter app snafu marred a perfect game.
CBS Sports and Akamai streamed the live game to 3.96 million viewers on a variety of platforms, streaming the ads for the first time.
Millennial viewers especially will turn to streaming sources for the Super Bowl, and CBS will stream commercials along with the big game.
Previous Super Bowls offered less-than-satisfactory live streaming experiences. Will CBS Sports get it right for the masses this Sunday?