To get people watching live video online, add suspense.
After just two rounds, internet viewing of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament has already surpassed last year’s total, with 51 million video streams, according to the broadcasters involved. That’s despite many of the games requiring a pay TV subscription to watch online.
New data suggest much of the streaming has concentrated on the final minutes of nail-biting upsets. The underdog has been victorious in all five of the most popular games so far:
- No. 11 Dayton (60) beats no. 6 Ohio State (59) — 4.6 million streams
- No. 14 Mercer (78) beats no. 3 Duke (71) — 4.2 million
- No. 12 Harvard (61) beats no. 5 Cincinnati (57) — 2.8 million
- No. 8 Kentucky (78) beats no. 1 Wichita State (76) — 2.0 million
- No. 10 Stanford (58) beats no. 7 New Mexico (53) — 1.5 million
Ratings for traditional TV are generally reported as an average number of viewers over the entire program. Not so with internet TV. Dayton’s upset of Ohio State, for instance, totaled 4.6 million streams during the course of the game, with most people presumably tuning in just for the conclusion. That is supported by overall internet viewing time, which is up just 6% from the same point in last year’s tournament, even though the number of streams is up 40%.