Live Stream Presents Tough Challenge for CBS Sports
“Blackout rules, device restrictions, and service interruptions, including buffering and poor quality video, have been enraging diehard fans for months.” Senior Director of Marketing, Kurt Michel
CBS was tasked with creating a suitable live-stream strategy to meet the demands of the rapidly growing online viewers. Given the bandwidth required to broadcast to audiences in the millions, a significant game plan had to be enacted. Their success didn’t come without challenges but CBS found success overall delivering a sustained streaming viewership of 1.4 million people that consumed more than 315 million minutes of coverage across laptops, desktops, tablets, connected TV devices and mobile phones.
CBS Sports needed a best-in-class Roku Channel that ensured the highest quality of service while meeting strenuous guidelines. The application required: intuitive navigation, sharp colors, rich graphical elements, smooth object animations, detailed reporting and analytics, and advertising integration.
Bandwidth and Load Testing
Quality control was paramount which meant all of the features needed to be tested against dozens of simultaneous client-server requests. Furthermore, since development on devices with performance limitations was a factor, resource allocations and optimizations had to constantly be evaluated.
Float Left ensured that the user experience remained consistent across all Roku device models and that regardless of the device, they would have a consistent and enjoyable experience.
By leveraging the core components of Flicast, a proprietary platform, Float Left was able to ship a highly effective and timely application featuring: Recommendations Engine, Custom Playlists, Cross-Device Resume, Search, Ratings, Interactive Ads, and many other value-add features.
The Flicast components were wrapped up in a rich user interface that was developed specifically for CBS Sports and the Super Bowl.
Client Side Development & Delivery
The completed application needed to be integrated into CBS Sports’ back-end infrastructure, which included analytics and stitched video advertising. Once the integration was completed, Float Left started comprehensive testing which included hundreds of use cases across dozens of devices. Final packaging and delivery entailed a combination of unique elements that ensured the highest standard customer and consumer facing experience.
Flicast is the culmination of years of development and IP poured into highly engaging and high performing channels for large-scale digital media services. Having a flexible, application solution that was de-coupled from CBS Sports’ the infrastructure provided the means for Float Left to create the seamless integration required by the CBS Sports team.
Return on Investment
CBS Sports reported that the Super Bowl 50 live stream broke all previous streaming records for the game with 3.96 million unique viewers. During the game, social media exploded with positive comments as viewers watched the event in real-time.
It was a critical milestone for CBS Sports, Roku, and Float Left in that we proved that the technology was sufficient to deliver a live broadcast of a major sporting event to millions of viewers inside of a TV application. In addition to helping create more Roku customers, the Super Bowl on the CBS Sports Roku Channel introduced more consumers to the concept of OTT distribution. Each year, consumers gain more confidence in the technology and are transitioning out of traditional cable and moving towards OTT.