Super Bowl 58: A Latency Leaderboard in the Most-Watched Telecast of All Time
Super Bowl LVIII smashed records, becoming the most-watched program in U.S. history, with over 200 million people tuning in at some point during the event. The average viewership soared to 123.4 million across platforms, marking significant increases from the previous year and surpassing the historic Apollo 11 Moon Landing viewership.
CBS led with an average of 120 million viewers, including those on Paramount+. Univision hit a new high for Spanish-language Super Bowl viewership with 2.2 million, while Nickelodeon's child-friendly simulcast attracted 1.2 million viewers. The halftime show, featuring Usher and cameos by notable artists, drew in 129.3 million viewers, with Taylor Swift making a notable appearance from the audience.
Despite its success, the event was not without its problems. Viewers experienced latency delays ranging from 42 to 86 seconds across various platforms, leading to spoilers and diminished live viewing experiences.
A study by Phenix identified an increased latency delay for the first time in five years. The latency delay was classified based on the platforms where the Super Bowl LVIII event was broadcast.
Paramount+ registered a delay of 42.73 seconds, though the platform experienced a lesser delay when compared to other streaming platforms. This latency delay is a significant increase compared to last year's Super Bowl broadcaster, Fox Sports, which experienced a delay of 23.76 seconds only.
MVPDs like YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, and FuboTV experienced minor to noticeable rises in latency. In this edition, YouTube TV’s delay increased to 55.54 seconds from 54.14 seconds the previous year. Hulu + Live TV's latency also increased marginally to 70.16 seconds in 2024, up from 69.08 in 2023.
Meanwhile, fuboTV witnessed a more substantial increase in latency, with the delay reaching 86.75 seconds in the latest broadcast, compared to 76.73 seconds in 2023.
Traditional cable and fiber-optic services also faced delays, though over-the-air broadcasts had the shortest lag.
The Super Bowl highlighted ongoing latency issues in sports broadcasting, with delays causing spoilers and frustration among viewers.
Roy Reichbach, CEO of Phenix, criticized the industry for not meeting consumer demands for real-time viewing experiences. With the rise of "scroll and watch" habits, the need for immediate streaming is more pressing than ever. Jed Corenthal emphasized the return of traditional viewing methods like rabbit ear antennas as viewers seek real-time updates.
Latency not only affects the viewer's experience but also has implications for online sports betting and interactive gaming. The demand for low latency is critical to ensure a seamless and engaging user experience.
The industry faces challenges in minimizing latency due to technical limitations and the cost of adopting new video delivery architectures. Addressing these issues is vital for the future of sports streaming, as audiences increasingly favor digital platforms over traditional broadcast methods.
The future success of live sports broadcasting relies on addressing latency issues to satisfy the increasing demand for immediate viewing experiences. As audience numbers grow rapidly, streaming platforms need to develop and implement a more efficient broadcasting system capable of scaling to meet user expectations in real-time.
The migration of sports broadcasting from traditional channels to digital platforms is steadily occurring, highlighted by major broadcasters such as ESPN, FOX Sports, and Warner Bros. Discovery coming together to introduce a new sports streaming service.
With dwindling interest in traditional channels and the rapid trend of cord-cutting in the US, it's crucial for streaming services to reduce latency to offer a real-time sports viewing experience. Otherwise, viewers may return to old-fashioned methods like rabbit ear antennas to watch live sports.
Source: The Streaming Wars
Walmart Seals Deal to Buy VIZIO for $2.3 Billion, Gaining Control of VIZIO WatchFree+
Hopefully Walmart checked its balance online before running this particular credit card transaction! A Tuesday morning press release from Walmart and VIZIO has revealed the retail giant is executing its purchase of the smart TV manufacturer, in a deal that’s reportedly worth $2.3 billion. Word first began to circulate about the transaction last week, and now it appears the deal is official.
While VIZIO now has 18 million customers using its SmartCast operating system (OS) via its smart TVs. That’s a 400% increase since 2018.
That’s the main drive for Walmart in executing its purchase of VIZIO. The retailer wants to use VIZIO’s OS to distribute more ads, using smart TV menus as well as VIZIO’s free ad-supported streaming platform [WatchFree+ $]. Walmart can also leverage proprietary customer data owned by VIZIO about its viewers and their watching habits, in order to more effectively steer them toward products sold in Walmart stores. Walmart already carries a large line of VIZIO smart TVs in its stores, starting at around $350.
“There is a lot to be excited about with this acquisition,” said Seth Dallaire, EVP, Walmart U.S. “We believe VIZIO’s customer-centric operating system provides great viewing experiences at attractive price points. We also believe it enables a profitable advertising business that is rapidly scaling. Our media business, Walmart Connect, is helping brands create meaningful connections with the millions of customers who shop with us each week. We believe the combination of these two businesses would be impactful as we redefine the intersection of retail and entertainment.”
The purchase is seen by many financial analysts as a way for Walmart to continue competing with Amazon. That retail giant owns a smart TV OS and ad-supported streaming platform as well, using its Fire TV devices and Freevee streamer to distribute ads and pull in higher revenues as a result.
Source: The Streamable
Key Findings Include
- After peaking in Q4 2021, unscripted series have been making up a smaller share of new streaming original premieres as platforms have pulled back on investing in new unscripted shows. This makes sense for a majority of SVODs in the US where unscripted content accounts for a smaller share of demand than its share of catalog.
- On FAST platforms however, unscripted series continue to shine. On 3 of the 4 major FAST platforms in the US unscripted shows made up a larger share of demand than their share of catalog.
- Reality shows like “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Pawn Stars” are precisely the type of bingeable content with many seasons that keep people engaged on these platforms watching ads, which powers the business model of these free streamers.
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