Keeping the Madness in Your Pocket With Live Mobile Streaming

March 25, 2011

2:00 pm

For all you hoops fans out there, we’re smack in the middle of the NCAA Tournament Championship known as March Madness.  While many of your brackets have certainly been busted, there is a great chance you’ve been watching the games from one of your mobile devices.  This year, CBS and Turner launched native apps for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch that included live streams of every single game – for free. (Android users apparently don’t watch basketball.)

While major media companies like Comcast and PBS are quickly enabling their content to be accessible online and across mobile devices, they are typically only providing on-demand content.  CBS/Turner are certainly taking the lead in terms of live access, and using one of their prime sports assets as the guinea pig.  And why not?  While there may be increased CDN costs to distribute these video streams, CBS/Turner is keeping their audience engaged with their brand and content while they are on the go.  After all, the idea is to get the most eyeballs watching your content, whether it be on a TV, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone.  

Initial results are showing high viewership.  According to Turner and CBS, their March Madness app was #1 in the Apple App Store on the first full days of the tournament, March 17-18.  A few other interesting metrics released include:

  • There were 702K average daily unique users of the app
  • Each user spent an average of 20.4 minutes watching games from the mobile app
  • 36% of all digital streams were done over mobile

So what does this mean?  CBS/Turner are clearly having success not only getting people to use their app, but also keeping them engaged with the content. Through traditional TV, the games averaged 8.4MM average daily viewers, thus a little under 10% of the audience is also accessing content via mobile.  You can be sure that % will increase as the content becomes available across more mobile platforms and the awareness of the apps grow. You can only imagine how this anywhere access is a tremendous way for these networks to continue generating ad revenue while people are away from their TV, as well as promote their other shows (particularly CBS, who we all know is taking a serious hit with their #1 comedy).

Look for other media companies to quickly follow suit and provide content either live or “simul-streaming” their network shows at the same time they are available on broadcast TV.  As mobile devices like tablets continue to proliferate, the content that is available anywhere, anytime, and in some cases, at the same time as TV, will win the eyeballs of consumers.

Anuj Agrawal is a digital media enthusiast in the DC area.  He’s been part of the digital media scene in Silicon Valley as well as up and down the East Coast.  He can be reached at anujagra@gmail or @anujagra.

Image courtesy of the Wall Street Journal Online.

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Anuj Agrawal (@anujagra) is a digital media enthusiast in the DC area, with a passion for understanding what makes consumers tick. From the fundamentals of designing products that are engaging to understanding the psychology of the buying process, he has helped companies develop innovative consumer experiences.

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