Streaming To Be The Big Winner For The Super Bowl: Are TV Consumers Playing Ball?

Consumers may not always know what platform -- streaming, linear TV, or other digital media -- to watch when it comes to a particular piece of content.

More than 25 years ago, Bill Daniels, a prominent cable TV executive and system owner, speaking to TV Watch at an industry event, predicted that one day the “Super Bowl would be on cable TV.” He was expecting a shocked reaction. But instead, TV Watch calmly told him this: “I have seen the Super Bowl -- on cable TV -- many times.”

The executive was puzzled. Yes, at the time TV Watch saw a Super Bowl on NBC in 1993 and 1994, as well as one CBS in 1992 -- networks that are carried on a cable TV service. 

Daniels, of course, was alluding to the big game being aired on a cable TV network. 

All this makes you wonder whether any of this matters to consumers -- now in a new age where all things streaming, internet, and digital media have usurped the cable reference as the latest and greatest.



The most important thing to consumers is the program -- sports, entertainment or otherwise.

Next is how they get it. A recent poll by Adtaxi, a digital marketing company, had some 1,056 responses to the question: ”Which of the following best describes how you will primarily consume the 2023 Super Bowl? Select one.”

For those watching the big game, the number one result was “using a streaming service” -- at 22.82%, followed by “using my cable subscription” at 22.54% and third, “broadcast TV, not connected to a cable or the internet” at 14.77%.

Do you think those numbers accurately reflect how they will get to see the big game? The headline of the survey is: “Streaming viewers expected to surpass both broadcast & cable.” 

Some might disagree. Last year there were 98.1 million average minute viewers watching the big game, according to Nielsen, with the average streaming-minute audience at 10.5 million. The out-of-home audience was 12.5 million, per iSpot/Tinuiti Analytics. 

Last year's game was available on NBC, Telemundo, Peacock, NBC Sports Digital, NFL Digital and Yahoo Sports mobile properties.

By some new estimates then, should we expect out of 125 million viewers that around 27.5 million will come from streaming? 

It seems that would be s dramatic change -- even with cord-cutting continuing to eat away at the legacy pay TV system of cable, satellite, telco, virtual operators.

One final result of the poll may tell a different story: 24.5% say they “will not be watching/listening to the Super Bowl.” As our cable TV executive example highlights, perhaps not everyone is clear about industry-specific TV definitions when it comes to distribution systems. Could that be a factor?

Streaming is the new shiny toy for consumers. Guessing a better game metric trend would be to follow the money would be not to go long. Focus on the core stuff -- the program itself. Try the run game.

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