Archive for March, 2010

Streaming March Madness On The Web

Northern Iowa upsets Kansas in the 2010 NCAA Mens College Basketball Tournament.

The Northern Iowa bench runs onto the court after their 69-67 win over Kansas in an NCAA second-round college basketball game, Saturday, March 20, 2010, in Oklahoma City. Northern Iowa upset top overall seed Kansas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)


It’s that time of year again, March Madness, when each basketball team invited to the NCAA tournament is given their shot to make a name for themselves and put their school on the map as a final four contender. Just last night the Northern Iowa Panthers took down the overall favorite and perennial college basketball powerhouse, Kansas. UNI showed up ready to play and made the big shots in this big game, against a big-time opponent. Not to mention, when an upset of this proportion happens, people are watching. The media outlet is quickly changing though, over 3 million computers were streaming the madness each day since tournament play began on Thursday, reported by CBS Sports. Now the inevitable question is how does a TV broadcast company such as CBS manage and afford to pay to stream an event of this magnitude for free to all interested viewers?

From a logistical point of view, making sure the HD stream is available to anyone across the globe comes with the help of the CDN (content-delivery-network) Akamai.  Their job is to provide CBS with seamless streaming of their coverage to viewers anywhere in the world. CBS pays to utilize the fiber optic bandwidth infrastructure and data centers that Akamai has already established in internet hot spots around the world. This eliminates costly logistical problems that CBS would otherwise run into if they were to stream the coverage with their own bandwidth. The service contracted out to Akamai is then easily paid back with mandatory 30-second commercials  that viewers are required to watch, in order for the player to unlock. Simply put, CBS profits from the increase in online video advertising inventory.

Kansas State and Northern Iowa start their NCAA second-round college basketball game, Saturday, March 20, 2010, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

One other factor, the two year old developer program has allowed for developers to promote the March Madness on demand service and viewers are now able to stream march madness from their HD TV’s, high-speed internet, or mobile device.

Many critics are applauding CBS for their efforts regarding making March Madness coverage widely accessible, as the most recent Winter Olympic’s broadcaster, NBC, required a subscription to view Olympic events live online from Vancouver. CBS’s great work is allowing for everyone to rally behind their bracket picks, and making sure that only the basketball teams are being “upset” throughout the tournament.

March 2011 UPDATE:

To watch the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament:

Visit March Madness On Demand – Watch Now!


03 2010

Is In-Flight Wi-Fi The End For Airline Magazines?

Yesterday I was flying home from Augusta, Georgia on U.S. Airways and I noticed that the monthly edition of the airline magazine contained enough subsentence to occupy my short and rare flight. However, I realized that the magazine is almost totally irrelevant to the the airlines most profitable customers, frequent fliers, who stare at the glossy cover next to the safety card several times every month. Allowing travelers to have Wi-Fi access is a trend that has fliers more fliers disregarding the airline magazine and seeking carriers with Wi-Fi for more productivity and personal entertainment.

Recently many of the major U.S. airline carriers have decided to go ahead with an investment in offering in-flight Wi-Fi for a fee, provided by the third party company Gogo, which operates under the parent company Aircell. The rationale behind the decision is that the airline executives believe their customers desire in-flight internet enough to chose one carrier over another, just for access to the internet. To support this belief, Mashable published the results from a recent survey, showing that over 3/4 of frequent fliers would change airlines to have Wi-Fi. Now, in March 2010, most airlines have taken action and are implementing the service on select planes in their fleet, which operate routes that would have a high Wi-Fi demand.

Now, why is this relevant to the airline magazines? For the passengers who subscribe to the Wi-Fi service, this will mean that their entertainment will likely be fulfilled via their Wi-Fi device, and not the magazine. The magazines exist now as a place for the airline to entertain their customers with reviews and promotions of destinations they serve and other mildly interesting travel articles. Meanwhile, the same information is available and more accessible with Wi-Fi, making the passenger likely to disregard any of the useful information within the magazine.

As fewer passengers become interested and engaged in the airline magazine, its likely that advertising revenues will drop significantly because the advertiser will no longer be reaching their primary target. Instead, the primary target demographic which the advertisers are seeking will be on the internet. In other words, the advertisers will likely look to reach out to these travelers through a new media form, the internet! Thus, the internet advertising world will yet again trump traditional media forms, as travelers become increasingly digital and mobilized citizens. While the addition of Wi-Fi service in flight is not a guarantee that airline magazines will one day be discontinued, it is certainly an indicator that the advertisers should modify their ad budgets to attract those customers again, on the internet.

Photo by RetroCactus under Creative Commons


03 2010