Multiscreen: Rounding Up the Data

Aug. 27, 2014
Two worldwide sporting events - the 2014 Winter Olympics and the World Cup - gave viewers the opportunity to see what multiscreen ...
Two worldwide sporting events - the 2014 Winter Olympics and the World Cup - gave viewers the opportunity to see what multiscreen technology brings to the table. And operators got the chance to test out their engines on a mass scale.

The results coming out in the last few months related to both events and to multiscreen in general have been positive, with the numbers on the upswing. Here is an overview of the statistics that have come out and advancements that were made:

Adobe's (NASDAQ:ADBE) online video viewing stats showed the World Cup was the most mobile sporting event ever. The company analyzed 2.7 billion online video starts across multiscreen devices and found that video viewing via mobile devices increased 34% during the event.

On peak World Cup days, nearly 25% of online video starts came from mobile devices, up from 18% pre-World Cup. The opening match saw a 152% increase in video starts from smartphones.

Forbes tech writer Jeff Bercovici tallied the number of Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) customers who accessed the World Cup tournament through Xfinity TV platforms. He found that there were more than 13 million live streams of World Cup matches by Xfinity customers either via Xfinity TV or Watch ESPN. This averages out to 90,000 streams for every hour of World Cup match coverage.

The USA vs. Belgium match had 834,000 live streams from Xfinity customers, which beat the previous live streaming record (USA vs. Germany) by 22%.

As for the Olympics, which took place this past February in Sochi, Russia, 225 multichannel distributors offered verification for their customers to access the live streaming content available on NBCOlympics.com. According to a Comcast blog post, 4.8 million devices were successfully verified, with a 54% success rate. This represented a 50% improvement from a 36% success rate during the 2012 London Olympic Games.

NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports Live Extra app had 24.6 million video viewers of the Sochi Games - up 8% from the London event and up 160% from the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.

In-home verification contributed to the streaming success during the Sochi Olympics. Subscribers to Comcast Xfinity, Cox Communications, Cablevision's (NYSE:CVC) Optimum TV, and Midcontinent Communications, for example, had their devices automatically verified when used within their homes. This increased success rates, on average by 18%.

While these large sporting events demonstrate multiscreen's popularity and growth, some general studies also have come out as of late. Infonetics Research indicated that the overall broadcast and streaming video equipment market grew by 5.6% worldwide in 2013 to $1.6 billion. Spending on CDNs increased, while spending on contribution encoders decreased.

And a separate survey by the same firm indicated that while 6% of operator respondents offered multiscreen video last year, 55% offer it today, and 80% plan to offer it next year.