Rayburn: Paramount+ delivers on Super Bowl stream

Dan Rayburn Industry Voices

Welcome to the latest installment of Dan Rayburn's Streaming Insights & Intelligence, a new weekly insights column on StreamTV Insider where the industry analyst puts facts and figures to the news you need to know about. Join the discussion on LinkedIn and check back each week as he unpacks key industry happenings.

Here’s what Rayburn is tracking for the week of February 12, 2024: Super Bowl streaming performance; Broadpeak earnings; Better video quality coming to Max live sports; AI insanity and more.

Super Bowl Stream

Overall, the Paramount+ stream of Super Bowl LVIII, delivered in 1080p 60fps and encoded for six bitrates maxing out at 12Mbps, delivered a great experience for most viewers. Paramount encountered a technical problem with one of their CDN partners, which they quickly migrated, but it did negatively impact a small portion of overall viewers, which I put at less than 1%. The Paramount+ stream was not in 4K, but various MVPDs and vMVPDs picked up an upconverted 4K stream.

My bullet point high-level thoughts on the Super Bowl stream:

🏈 Numbers aren’t out yet, but I would expect an AMA number of under 9 million (2023 was 7 million AMA

🏈Depending on the device and platform, I saw latency from 2 seconds to 60 seconds behind the TV broadcast feed 

🏈HDR on Parmaount+ looked great across all devices I streamed on, and the upscaled 4K/HDR/5.1 stream on YouTube TV looked great as well

🏈Some users, including myself, did experience some errors or crashing of the stream, which started before kickoff and was largely mitigated before it could impact a larger portion of users.

🏈One media outlet reported, "The streaming platform seems to be struggling with all the Super Bowl traffic,” which was inaccurate. Paramount was prepared for the viewership they received, and there was no problem with the volume of users.

Key Takeaway: The Super Bowl will continue to see the majority of its viewership from pay TV, not streaming. Across all platforms, pay TV and streaming, the Super Bowl had an average of 123.7 million viewers — the highest number of people watching the same broadcast in the history of television, according to Nielsen. 112 million of those viewers tuned into the CBS broadcast.

News highlights:

  • Another multi-billion dollar sports licensing deal. According to The Athletic, ESPN has agreed to a $7.8 billion, six-year deal for the exclusive rights to the expanded College Football Playoff (CFP) from next season. ESPN has shown the semi-finals and finals of the CFP since 2014, with their current contract expiring in 2026. This reported extension will see ESPN retain its existing package and acquire the rights to an additional slate of early-round games through to the 2031/32 season. The deal is worth $1.3 billion a year – more than double the existing $608 million arrangement.
  • Broadpeak earnings show poor revenue growth and a weak forecast. Broadpeak reported full-year 2023 Earnings with revenue of €39.03 million, down 6.8% year over year. Fourth-quarter revenue fell 19.1% to €13.1 million. The company said, "This disappointing trend reflects tighter business conditions, with a marked wait-and-see attitude on the part of TV and telecom operators (accounting for over 80% of Broadpeak revenue)."

    Against this backdrop, Broadpeak has begun to implement cost savings measures, "through the stabilisation of the workforce and efforts in R&D after an intense investment phase." Broadpeak says that the lag in growth in the past few months will cause it to "adjust its financial targets for 2026 when it publishes its annual results on 15 April."  Join the discussion here.
  • Better quality video is coming to Max’s live sports bundle. Max says it’s adding Dolby Vision to its add-on live sports tier, a move that makes it the first streamer to offer live streaming sports with Dolby Vision HDR support. Max’s full slate of sports in the tier including Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, NBA, and U.S. Soccer events, along with NCAA March Madness matchups, will all benefit from the support of Dolby Vision. Join the discussion here.
  • This is AI insanity. Beamr Imaging, which had $1.4M in revenue from Q1 through Q3 of 2023, saw its stock shoot up to over 1500% on Monday, hitting a high of $34.94, after it did a press release with NVIDIA to present its joint research at the Mile High Video show. The stock closed the day up 371.5% at $9.95 with a market cap of $128.1 million. 149.5 million shares traded hands, with the average being 236,000 shares a day over the past 30 days.

    There is no justification for this; it is simply a result of the NVIDIA magnet pull, where anything touching NVIDIA gets a boost. Beamr is simply using NVIDIA’s hardware. That's it. So are many other companies. There is nothing special taking place here. It's funny to see the media write about Beamr, having no clue what they do or what a video codec is and simply using terms like "content-adaptive video company" right out of the press release or off their website. This is all AI hype, nothing else. Don't be fooled like a lot of investors are. Join the discussion here.
  • New PS5 stat from Sony during their earnings report. Sony said the install base of PS5 users at the end of 2023 was 120 million “user accounts."

Dan Rayburn is an analyst in the streaming media industry, with regular TV appearances on CNBC, Bloomberg TV, and Schwab Network amongst others. He is conference Chairman for the NAB Show Streaming Summit in Las Vegas each year, and his streamingmediablog.com website is one of the most widely read sites for broadcasters, content owners, OTT providers, Wall Street money managers, and industry executives. He also has a podcast at danrayburnpodcast.com. He can be reached at [email protected]

Dan Rayburn’s Streaming Analysis & Insights is an opinion column. It does not necessarily represent the opinions of StreamTV Insider.