The National Football League’s streaming experiment with Yahoo! Inc. drew far fewer viewers than a typical top-rated national broadcast, as the league attempted to adjust to changes in media-watching habits.
The Web portal attracted 15.2 million unique viewers in a game Sunday between the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London, the Sunnyvale, California-based company said in a statement Monday. More than 460 million minutes of video were consumed, Yahoo said.
That works out to an average of about 2.4 million viewers in any given minute over the course of the three-hour, 15-minute contest.
By comparison, NBC’s Sunday Night Football program averaged 24.1 million viewers through its first seven telecasts this season, according to Nielsen data cited by the network. The nationally broadcast Sunday night game typically is the league’s most-watched game each week. The Bills-Jaguars game was broadcast on television in the teams’ local markets, which might have limited Yahoo viewership.
The NFL and other content providers are looking for new ways to broaden their audiences as more consumers reach for smartphones or use a la carte offerings to watch programming without using broadcast or cable service.
“We’re thrilled with the results of our initial step distributing an NFL game to a worldwide audience and with the work of our partner, Yahoo,” Hans Schroeder, a senior vice president for the league, said in the statement.
Yahoo paid about $17 million to show the game, a person familiar with the terms has said. It was viewed in 185 countries, and 33 percent of the streams were international, according to the Web portal.
“We’re seeing a dramatic shift in the industry as audiences’ primary video watching moves away from TV,” Adam Cahan, a Yahoo senior vice president, said in the statement.
The game was broadcast starting at 9:30 a.m. on the U.S. East Coast. The contest ended up with a close finish as Jacksonville won 34-31.