By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard
The Buffalo Bills vs Jacksonville Jaguars was the first ever NFL game distributed mainly via the web. In this case Yahoo! handled the streaming duties. While it is being spun as a success, it wasn’t as big of a success as the powers that be would like for us to believe.
Peter King on MMQB pointed out that the live stream on Yahoo may not have been as awesome as Yahoo and the NFL are making it out to be. For example, King points out that Yahoo is counting a “stream” as anyone who watched for me than three seconds. The stream was on autoplay on Yahoo’s homepage. Not exactly an accurate portrait.
While the stream worked well it was great for everyone. As Business Insider pointed out, some people experienced a less than ideal viewing experience. It was still free and available on a global basis though.
What this game really did, besides being a pretty damn good one, was show why the Internet has not take over TV when it comes to our main viewing source.
While ad space on the Internet is infinite (want more space, create a new page) the bandwidth is not. Unlike TV, bandwidth is finite. There is only so much of it at any given time in a given place. It is, after all, a series of tubes. For example, if you are at a Starbucks trying to stream the game and there are 10 other people there on their various devices doing various bandwidth sucking things then your stream is going to suck at some points. If you are at home in your house in the suburbs and everyone else is i your neighborhood is at home streaming the new season of ‘House of Cards’ on various Netflix connected devices then odds are you may not be getting the speeds you are paying for from your ISP.
So, while the game may not have been as successful viewing wise as some people would like for us to believe, it was a success. Why? People could watch a football via a new distribution channel without borders or boundaries. In Vietnam? No Problem. In Denver? We got you. Normally to get that kind of access you had to fork over an absurd amount of money and in this case, you’d be forking over money for two teams in some of the smallest markets in the NFL.
This is hopefully will not be a one off event. Live streaming is a good thing. It gets back to the fundamental possibilities of the Internet: any content, any where on any device. Remember that? Kind of funny that the NFL is the one trying to get us back to that idea. But hey, as long as we get there do we really care who leads the way?
And now, your Internet moment of Zen.