Sunday, February 12, 2012

Superbowl streamed -- pirates do IPTV better than NBC


When I reported that the Superbowl would be streamed this year, I saw it as a milestone on the road to IPTV.

I was one of the 2,105,441 people who watched the stream on NBC.COM. I tuned in out of curiosity, but after watching for a few minutes and taking a few screen shots, I turned my computer off and watched the game on TV. (NBC reports that the average veiwer remained online for 39 minutes).

I was not impressed. The action was in a small window surrounded by ads and statistics on a black background. The viewer could switch camera angles by clicking on the insert window on the upper right.

IPTV done poorly -- by NBC
It was too busy and too small for my taste. There were also seemingly constant commercials and other distractions. I did not tune in at the very start, but by the third quarter, the Internet stream was a quarter behind the TV broadcast.

On the other hand, spokesmen for NBC and the NFL were pleased.

Kevin Monaghan, SVP, Business Development & Managing Director Digital Media, NBC Sports Group was pleased by the "record traffic that grew throughout the event." He was also happy with "record high engagement numbers" referring to nearly two million camera angle switches.

Hans Schroeder, NFL, SVP, Media Strategy and Development called the live stream "a tremendous success."

They might have been pleased, but I expected more because I have seen better live streaming of a sporting event. The basketball game shown below filled the laptop screen and was identical to and only four secnds behind the TV broadcast shown behind it.

IPTV done better -- by pirates
One small hitch -- the basketball game was pirated.   NBC and the NFL should check out the music industry experience with pirates. A good way to stop pirates is to offer people convenient, high quality content at a reasonable price.

Perhaps TV executives should think of pirates as market research consultants who are showing them what the public wants.  NBC needs to learn from the pirates that the distinction between "TV" and "the Internet" is broken -- it's all bits.