CBS: March Madness Online Ad Revenue Nearing $30M

CBSSports.com says that its ad inventory for the upcoming March Madness On Demand (MMOD) is nearly sold out and that revenues generated by the web video product are approaching $30 million. CBSSports.com Senior VP and General Manager Jason Kint told MediaWeek that ad revenue would be up more than 20 percent from last year’s $23 million.

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But if past is prologue, CBS is going to need that extra cash. This year MMOD will feature a high-quality video player using Silverlight that will stream video at speeds up to 1.5 Mbps. Those extra bits for a sharper picture aren’t free, and a lot of people will be tuning in online. Kint expects this year’s MMOD’s audience to surpass 2008’s 4.8 million unique viewers, especially since CBS has expanded MMOD distribution to CNET and GameSpot.

Plus, MMOD’s biggest audience is at the beginning of the tournament when most of the games are on during the day, and people are at work. But sports fans are growing more accustomed to watching games online that they would ordinarily miss because of scheduling. Tiger Woods drew millions of streams during the U.S. Open finals playoff that happened on a Monday last year and again this year when his return to golf generated 2.5 million streams on a Wednesday.

We’ll be watching — for work, of course, and not at all to check in and see how we’re doing in the March Madness office pool.

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