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Madness in March


It’s that time of year again. CBS is once again planning to stream March Madness games online for free throughout the NCAA tournament. In 2006, the first year CBS offered March Madness On Demand at no cost, the CBS.com site set a record for simultaneous online video streams at 268,000. In 2008 CBS expects to break the one million mark.

If you take Phil Harvey’s estimation, one million online viewers eat up roughly 75,000 gigabytes of streaming content with each two minutes of video watched. I’m planning on watching more than two minutes, so let’s say the average viewer watches more like 30 minutes of March Madness On Demand once the games start. That adds up to 1.125 terabytes of simultaneous streaming content. Mind blowing.

There are two issues with this level of streaming content volume. One is overall capacity to deliver the NCAA games, and two is the capacity to deliver enough bandwidth concurrently to meet simultaneous demand. Both issues are challenging. Both are likely to gain visibility in the wake of more offerings like March Madness On Demand.

6 Responses

  1. Isn’t IPTV supposed to addresss this issue? If CBS used IPTV wouldn’t they cut their bandwidth usage down by 80-90%?

    Also, a reminder, somewhat volital Joost is supposed to be broadcasting March Madness live, think of it as an alternative if the CBS site gets bogged down. Joost is hit and miss though, so “buyer beware”.


  2. Todd- I’m not sure what you mean by IPTV, but I’d have to say no. If you mean TV delivered via the Internet, that’s what CBS is currently doing with the help of a CDN partner or two. If you mean delivering TV via Internet Protocol over a quality-assured network (what AT&T does), you’re talking about something completely different from CBS’s Web play. Maybe you mean something else altogether?

    RE: Joost- yeah, I gave up on it last year. Though I’d be willing to give it a chance if I couldn’t get my March Madness anywhere else.

  3. […] to whatever games the networks chose to broadcast, our options have grown substantially. Online, CBS streams all tournament games for free via a March Madness on Demand portal. (Now available on the iPhone and iPod Touch as well) On TV, […]

  4. […] 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, […]

  5. mmmm. bookmarked😉

  6. WOW I am speechless you ROCK. I hope this goes far and wide, you deserve it.

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