BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport Serve 66.8M World Cup Streams
Now that the final match has been played, the BBC revealed its video streaming numbers for the 2018 World Cup, numbers that—not surprisingly—far exceed those from Brazil four years ago.
The BBC received 66.8 million total streaming requests through the iPlayer and BBC Sport, and 56.3 million of those were for live streams. Its most-streamed match was Sweden vs. England with 3.9 million requests (3.8 million of which were live). That was enough to make it the BBC's most-viewed online event ever. The next most-streamed matches were Tunisia vs. England (3.09 million), England vs. Panama (3.05 million), Brazil vs. Belgium (2.2 million), and Spain vs. Russia (2.1 million).
The BBC's World Cup Daily podcast also did well, getting 2.07 million downloads and 300,000 streams in June.
Online World Cup viewing was far higher this year that for the 2014 tournament in Brazil, when the BBC received 15.9 million live video requests.
“This World Cup has seen a huge increase in people following the action over the internet, through BBC Sport and BBC iPlayer," notes Neil Hall, head of sport product for BBC Design & Engineering. "We continue to improve things behind-the-scenes and create new experiences that make these major events even more engaging for our audiences.”
Fox had World Cup rights in the U.S., and reported it served 558 million total video views combined for all its online properties (including social platforms), amounting to 3.6 billion total minutes of video. The most-streamed match was Croatia vs. England, where the live stream had an average audience of 830,000. Its live-match average for all streamed games was 552,000.
CDN Akamai distributed content for over 50 right holders in over 100 countries, and reported that World Cup 2018 produced more total traffic than any sports event it had ever handled. It distributed more traffic through the second round that it had for the entire 2014 World Cup. Much of that increase is due to the higher resolution video streaming now available.
The tournament's final match received 9.12 million peak concurrent plays, reports video optimization specialist Conviva. Prior to this World Cup, the most concurrent streaming it measured was 5.5 million during the 2018 Super Bowl. While Conviva calls this a record, Akamai reported 10.3 million concurrent live views for a cricket tournament final in May.
Streaming performance was hardly flawless, however, with Optus in Australia losing games to network problems, and the BBC suffering long latency delays. Subscription service YouTube TV faced a one-hour outage during the semi-final between England and Croatia. As a result, it offered customers a free week of service (a $10 value).
The BBC recently said that if it wanted to launch a subscription service, it would have to cost twice as much as Netflix. So how can new entrants compete in a market that's already full of top-tier SVOD services?
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