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Friday, March 21, 2008

International Television: CBS' HD vieweing of NCAA captures 1.8 Million viewers

From MEDIAWEEK:

CBS' NCAA HD Stream Nabs 1.8 Mil.

Nearly 1.8 million fans logged on to CBSSports.com to stream part of the NCAA Men's basketball championship on Mar. 20.

Mike Shields

MARCH 21, 2008 -

The third year of March Madness on Demand is off to a roaring start, thanks to an aggressive distribution strategy initiated by CBS Sports.

Nearly 1.8 million fans logged on to CBSSports.com to stream part of the NCAA Men’s basketball championship on Mar. 20, a whopping increase of 122 percent versus the comparable day last year. That traffic leap was fueled by CBS’ decision to place links to its site’s coverage of the games on 200 sites across the Web, including Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo Sports and SI.com.

That open distribution maneuver, combined with the elimination of registration requirements and CBS’ decision to stream all 63 games for this year’s tournament, boosted usage well beyond last year’s growth, when uniques increased by 10 percent versus year one of MMOD.

“Pushing the links all over the Web was a huge factor,” said Jason Kint, senior vp and general Manager, CBSSports.com. Plus, said Kint, CBS increased its streaming capacity for this year’s tournament, significantly decreasing the time fans needed to wait to log on. “We just get better every year at running this thing,” he said.

So much so that advertisers are likely to be quite pleased. Kint said he had estimated that MMOD might see 50 percent growth in audience. "We didn’t tell advertisers it would be this big,” he said.

In addition to the 1,751,956 unique visitors recorded yesterday (compared to the 789,045 in 2007), there were over 1.2 million clicks on the MMOD video player’s “Boss Button” - which immediately displays a fake spreadsheet when click, so at work users can avoid getting caught watching basketball on the job.

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