Bastards, Basketball and Brawlers

June 20, 2016

Written by Ed Haslam

Last night was a huge day in the world of “sports.” In addition to a couple of Game of Thrones families going to war in what has been labeled the bastard bowl, two of the NBA’s biggest stars matched up in the final game of the season, and a new WWE heavyweight champion was crowned – all within a few hours of each other. As you might imagine, this drove unprecedented traffic in the world of live OTT streaming video. We saw an all-time peak in concurrent viewers that was 7 percent higher than our last peak during the 2014 World Cup when Germany took on the U.S. The Bastard Bowl proved its valor with 27 percent of the share of viewers. John Snow is most definitely a very popular GoT character, driving huge viewership for seasons to come, but the LeBron-Steph showdown was nearly twice as popular last night than the bastard face off in Winterfell.

In year-over-year growth, this year’s NBA Game 7 drove twice more concurrent viewers that last year’s final (game 6). The GoT Bastard Bowl actually edged out the season premier with 8 percent more peak concurrent viewers, demonstrating significant intra-season growth within this very popular series. It also should be noted that Conviva saw an all time historic high of over 25M total plays between 5 – 9 p.m. PDT.

Peak concurrent and total viewership numbers are just half the story showing how large a viewing audience is – equally important is engagement. We measure engagement through our player sensor that heartbeats every second of video viewership. When we measured each audience in this fashion, HBO was on top with nearly the entire audience watching the complete show.

We are not sure what the cultural implication is when the combined audience of bastards, basketball and brawlers edges out the viewing statistics of the world’s singular most popular event – the World Cup. One thing is for certain, live OTT streaming video viewing is on the rise and when you aggregate niche audiences you can surpass the popularity of singular massive events.

End Note: Conviva measures peak concurrent views as the largest number of viewers in any given second of a streaming event/show, not the total number of viewers during the broadcast. This data was collected from over 2B cross-screen video players across our publisher network. We are not at liberty to reveal any publisher specific absolute numbers, so we focus instead on relative percentage by source and over time.