Yahoo Streams the NFL…with help from Ratio

We witnessed a historic first for the video streaming industry when Yahoo made the Jaguars vs Bills NFL game available to viewers worldwide. Ratio had a particularly keen interest in this event, not just because it was an industry-defining moment, but because we created the Yahoo app experience on the Xbox360 that served the game live.

According to Yahoo, over 15.2 million unique viewers tuned in to the watch the game. The company said it saw 33.6 million streams, accounting for over 460 million total minutes, averaging 2.36 million viewers per minute.

From a more technical perspective, Yahoo stated that its rebuffering ratio was nearly 1 percent, while delivering over 8.5 petabytes to end users. This suggests that those experiencing technical problems were in the minority. Streams reached HD levels with maximum bitrates over 6.74 megabits per second and 60 frames per second.

Analysts continue to pour over and nitpick the data but it’s clear to fans and tech enthusiasts alike that the event was a resounding success.

How the NFL proceeds from here is still murky. Many see the event as one of what will likely be many experiments the league conducts, testing new models for the delivery and monetization of their premium content. Others suggest that this is being done to create leverage in the NFL’s negotiations with broadcasters. After all, if they can go direct to consumers successfully, what benefit does a FOX or CBS bring the table that the NFL can’t accomplish itself?

While we don’t know where this will land, we do know this: the media landscape around us is changing, and changing quickly. Not too long ago the idea of premium content brands establishing a direct consumer offering was unthinkable. This weekend, the NFL joins the ranks of HBO, Major League Baseball, Lionsgate, CBS and others who are rapidly redefining the broadcast and premium content video model.