In its second year of existence, the short-form cricket tournament Indian Premier League Championships made 59 three-hour cricket matches available for free online streaming around the world this April and May. Though the broadcast got out to a rocky start, now that the final stats are in it appears to have done quite well, according to information provided by Dubai-based Netlinkblue, which has the online rights broadcasting rights for the league and runs the IPLT20.com site.
This year’s season drew more than 15 million unique visitors in five weeks, up from 5 million last year and a a pre-tournament projection of 10 million for this year. There were 28 million live video sessions during the ’09 season with a combined play time of over 6 billion seconds (really, do we have to break it down that far?), up 900 percent from the previous season. The increased attraction was due in large part to the live streams being free and ad-supported, rather than paid, and available in regions like the U.S., where they’d been geoblocked last year.
But the numbers would have been higher had technical glitches been avoided. Microsoft, which powered the broadcast through its Silverlight platform using its new smooth streaming feature, denied responsibility for the inaccessible and only partially functional video early in the tournament, blaming a backend failure. However, the company has now deemed the event a success, and published a case study on the Silverlight implementation earlier this month.
By contrast (though we realize these figures are not perfect global comparisons), CBS’ March Madness reported 7.52 million unique visitors and 8.6 million hours (31.0 billion seconds, I suppose?) of audio and video consumed, while NBC’s U.S. Olympics coverage merited 51.9 million unique visitors and 9.9 million hours (35.6 billion seconds) of video consumed.