This past Sunday, the NFL streamed a football game live from London, eschewing traditional TV in favor of a true Internet-only offering. The game was between the Bills and Jaguars—it’s like the NFL looked around and figured that this match-up of less-than-marquee teams was their best chance to ensure England never displaces football (soccer) with football (American).
Despite this fact, there are tons of reviews and stats from the game, along with quite a few lessons that can be taken away if you’re in PR.
Let’s start with the streaming reviews and stats. Generally speaking, while some folks had some challenges, it seems as though most folks had positive experiences. If you’ve been in the ad tech or online video space long enough, and you’re a fan of OTT options, the fact that things worked feels like a major step forward. It’s a key takeaway: The proof-of-concept works!!!
Yahoo’s numbers for this game are…well, they’re interesting. On one hand, Yahoo Sports (obvious affiliation, and clearly no bias here) trumpets 33 million views and 15 million unique visitors to the game (that’s right…15 million people watched the Bills vs Jaguars…. yeesh). On the other hand, there were “only” 2.3 million viewers per minute, meaning people watched, but didn’t stay. This may be because the total viewer number is a bit misleading. As Re/Code points out, putting the stream on the Yahoo homepage ensured that everyone who clicked on yahoo.com was counted as a viewer.
From a PR perspective, this game isn’t going to open the floodgates and have cable bundles breaking up and sold a la carte. In other words, this won’t trigger a dramatic shift in viewing. But it does highlight the fact that a HUGE number of people are participating in online video (whether they want to or not).
It’s good news for the OTT industry, and good news for consumers who are hoping to see more streaming options become available. Really, the only losers were the folks in London watching a pair of teams play a game that looked more like Pop Warner than the NFL.