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Alex Conners
Posted by
Alex Conners on
March 31, 2021

The Real Value of Streaming

What the NFL’s recent $100 billion deal with broadcasters says about the future of streaming

A few weeks ago, the New York Times announced the rumored $100B 10-year deals the NFL made with broadcasters, CBS, Fox, NBC, and ESPN. My first thought was, why? This comes on the heels of a $4B loss for the NFL. Some of that could be attributed to the coronavirus pandemic, but another issue plagues the NFL. Viewership started consistently decreasing over the last decade.

The subhead of the New York Times article tells the real story: streaming rights. This deal not only gives broadcast and streaming rights to NBC, CBS, and ESPN, but also Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime now has exclusive rights for Thursday Night Football, indicating two critical shifts in the NFL’s long-term market opportunity: international viewership and streaming viewership. For the NFL, streaming numbers for viewership have grown at a steady pace over the last nine years. The deal started to make sense.

A large portion of NS1 customers are global streaming providers, so we understand the enormous value of streaming audiences and the international footprint required to meet their needs. We also know the technical challenge it presents, which we see as an opportunity for providers to differentiate themselves--more on that later.

In Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, about 503K people tuned in via live-stream. In 2021, CBS reported 5.7M streaming views for this past Super Bowl, up from the prior year’s 3.4M on Fox in 2020. The climb to 5.7M streams happened over the course of nine short years, but smartphone adoption coupled with the “great streaming war of 2020,” could further catapult those numbers in the next 10 years. So the bigger question isn’t why NBC, CBS, Fox, and ESPN invested so much money in streaming, but how are these companies preparing to support 10M, 15M, or even 20M concurrent streams in the coming years?

At NS1, we understand the importance of a millisecond. In sports, 2 milliseconds is the difference between winning and losing. While consumers are watching in all different ways, the importance of every second of every play is hard to understate. For our customers, not just in streaming, but all industries, a millisecond could mean millions of dollars. From ecommerce to healthcare and financial services, our customers must deliver performant application traffic, regardless of end user location.

Streaming large sporting events presents unique application delivery challenges. NS1 has played a key role in addressing these challenges to help companies like Fox and CBS exceed user expectations during record-breaking Super Bowl streams in 2020 and 2021.

Customers tell us that partnering with NS1 gives them the assurance of working with experts who work on complex live streaming challenges every single day, not just once every four years. We work with some of the world’s largest and most prominent companies to optimize application delivery performance and ensure reliability at scale.

Our DNS and Pulsar technologies actively steer application traffic using real-time telemetry data about users, infrastructure, networks ,and cloud and internet conditions. This enables our customers to navigate changing conditions to deliver consistently stellar application experiences everywhere their applications and users are. Here are a few of the ways in which our solutions help to optimize application traffic:

Performance optimization with multi-CDN

Where multi-CDN falls in your streaming delivery stack

Organizations find greater leverage, availability, and global reach through the use of multiple CDN providers. NS1 helps to orchestrate application traffic across multi-CDN environments by making real-time traffic decisions based on performance, availability, and business policies like CDN cost commits.

Leverage a multi-cloud strategy

When applications live in different clouds, how do you ensure 100% availability? Cloud providers can provide a level of availability, but many companies choose to use a variety of public cloud vendors. This puts network and infrastructure teams at a disadvantage. There’s only so much you can do with multiple cloud vendors and no interoperability between them. With NS1’s Filter Chain™ technology, users set different criteria or filters to shift traffic elsewhere depending on availability, geography, and latency. In our experience, a multi-cloud strategy is no longer a novelty but a competitive advantage in meeting customer needs.

Automated redundancy

People often assume redundancy comes at a price--choosing between security and resilience. But with NS1, network and infrastructure teams are able to deliver on availability with a completely separate, fully redundant dedicated network, that’s still secure with DNSSEC.

Customers tell us application traffic routing coupled with intelligent traffic steering by optimizing CDNs ensures delivering the best experience for their end users.

Remember the international market opportunity I mentioned above? Performance optimization with multi-CDN, multi-cloud strategies, and automated redundancy becomes increasingly important when delivering content in new markets. Availability looks different in different geographies and across different networks (ASNs). Delivering users to the most performant locations anywhere in the world at all times is critical to delivering modern application experiences.

Best Practices for Large-Scale, Livestreamed Events

Download our guide for the steps you need to take ensure a successful livestreaming experience for your end-users.