The Super Bowl Is a Streaming War

BLOGFeb 04, 2021

Andrew Thompson

Some parts of the Super Bowl are exactly the same as they were in the 1960s. (Snacks and drinks come to mind.) But the changes underway this year reveal a transformed, and transforming, streaming media landscape.

Broadcasting rights for live sports have historically been the domain of cable providers, and they’re some of the most lucrative rights to own. But the competition has increased as more consumers stream live sports. In the case of the Super Bowl, exactly 19% more. Distributors have to cultivate their audiences to optimize viewership in order to remain successful. That cultivation comes through data.

CBS is broadcasting this year’s game for free on smart TVs (in addition to traditional cable). No doubt many of those viewers will engage with its CBS Sports app and OTT platform, CBS All Access. A variety of other streaming platforms are also offering promotions for new subscribers. By leveraging the viewership data they have to personalize ads and content offerings – especially during an event like the Super Bowl, one known for its advertisements – providers could convert those subscribers into long-term customers.

This success will depend on how quickly media and entertainment companies can analyze and extract insights from the data in real time. Monthly and quarterly reports are rapidly becoming outdated. With the help of machine learning and AI, companies can identify revenue opportunities within behavioral data sets while content is being aired. That could mean, for example, adjusting subscription pricing during the second half of the Super Bowl depending on how well promotions performed before the halftime show.

Live events are hastening the move to digital, and the Super Bowl is a new battle line in the streaming wars. It’s going to change how content creators and distributors negotiate, and how companies determine monetization strategies. In my article for FierceVideo, I address how media companies can pull insights from all of their data and create growth in 2021 and beyond.