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A Missed Opportunity

Posted: February 4, 2015, 2:45 p.m.
by Kaitlin Goins.

With Netflix, Hulu and soon-to-be HBO Go, purchasing cable seems ridiculous — even more so now that ABC and other networks allow you to stream their newest television episodes online for three weeks after they air. But when it comes to live events such as the Super Bowl, I always get antsy wondering where I’m going to watch the big game. Good news for me and more than 1.3 million other viewers, this year NBC allowed viewers to live-stream the Super Bowl online for free. Of course there was about a 50-second delay, making it slightly difficult to keep up on Twitter, but nonetheless, I watched the Super Bowl without the cable price tag.

What I did miss, however, were the advertisements. The famous Super Bowl ads, which companies pay $4.5 million for each 30-second spot. . . those weren’t available through the online stream. Advertisements for Pepsi, Coca-Cola and T-Mobile were repeated multiple times throughout the game. With the price tag of the ads being significantly cheaper, imagine my surprise when the screen went to the Super Bowl logo with “COVERAGE WILL RESUME SHORTLY” multiple times. And by shortly, they meant in a few minutes. Budweiser, State Farm, Doritos and other companies chose to forego the package deal and only buy TV ads.

Talk about a missed opportunity.

Photo provided by 21192563@N02 (Flickr)
Photo provided by 21192563@N02 (Flickr)

I’ve never watched an online stream from Hulu or any network’s website without encountering at least two advertisements, usually from big-name companies. Netflix is the one exception. According to Adweek, Internet video ads have higher impact than TV ads in message recall, general recall, brand recall and ad likability.

While the 1.3 million of us who chose to stream the game make up only one-tenth of Super Bowl viewers this year, those viewers are a captive audience. Who is going to take the chance of switching websites for a few seconds if that means you’ll possibly be booted out of the online stream? Not me.


Photo provided by MomentiMedia (Flickr)
Photo provided by MomentiMedia (Flickr)

Maybe NBC just couldn’t sell all the spots or maybe it underestimated how many advertisements it would need. Nonetheless, there was a missed opportunity Sunday night with at least 1.3 million captive viewers watching a blank screen. With CBS on the contract for next year’s Super Bowl, there is no doubt that online streaming will be available. The question is will those advertising spots be filled or will we be waiting for the coverage to “resume shortly”?

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