Perhaps learning from last year’s overly hyped, technically plagued first-ever global live-stream of an NFL game, the National Football League today released a surprisingly superlative-free set of streaming figures for yesterday’s game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets. The game was streamed on Twitter—a first for an NFL game—in addition to being broadcast on CBS.
By technical standards, the live-stream was a success. Despite a buffering delay, Twitter users seemed largely happy with the high-quality stream. But in terms of viewers, the results were more mixed. Here’s what the league said:
In total, Twitter reached 2.3 million combined worldwide viewers for the NFL Thursday Night Kickoff pregame show and the Jets/Bills game for a minimum of three seconds with that video being 100% in view. For the Thursday Night Football game alone, Twitter reached 2.1 million viewers. The average audience watching Thursday Night Football on Twitter properties was 243,000 with each viewer watching an average of 22 minutes of game action.
Notice how it was careful to note that average number of viewing minutes, which is a little closer to how TV ratings are calculated. Last year, the NFL and Yahoo were criticized for touting that 15.2 million people saw the live-stream of a game, when in reality, the video was auto-playing on Yahoo’s homepage and many of those “viewers” were probably just annoyed internet users who came by accident.
Last night’s numbers are a little more sober. Some perspective: The game reached an average of 15.4 million viewers on CBS and NFL Network, so the Twitter audience is still a small chunk. But it can only grow.