If you wonder why video on the Web is growing, look no further than March Madness On Demand (MMOD). I’ve been a fan of the application for years, which lets you view any and all of the NCAA basketball tournament games online for free. However, this year’s implementation was an astounding leap forward. The days of registering at the MMOD site then hanging out in a virtual waiting room for your chance to see a stuttering feed are long gone. This year’s site lets you in to the game of your choice almost instantly, has no problem when you toggle between feeds, and generally holds up against demand even as the picture quality has improved.
The improvements are a result of technology advancements in player software, content delivery networks, and bandwidth connections. While driven by demand for better Web experiences, the improved MMOD app also explains why Internet video will continue to grow. Video on the Web has gotten easier and more enjoyable.
So what does this mean for pay TV service providers? First, it explains the push for DOCSIS 3.0 and fiber to the home (FTTH). More bandwidth begets better applications begets a need for more bandwidth. The proverbial snake eating its tail.
Second, it points to how Internet video is becoming an increasingly important supplement to regular TV. Case in point: I watched a good deal of this past weekend’s games via cable TV, but I also caught some games online when they weren’t being broadcast, and I watched some on an iPod Touch when I needed to be somewhat discreet. Broadcast television still rules the TV entertainment world by far, but pay TV providers have a growing stake in connecting the online video island to their “mainland” pay TV service – as some operators have started to do.
From a post on Silicon Alley Insider, here are the most recent NCAA Tournament viewing stats:
- 2.7 million unique visitors streamed video using MMOD, up 56% from last year
- CBS streamed 2.8 million hours of audio and video online, up 65% from last year
- TV ratings were up 9%