Sunday, October 11, 2009

Smooth Running For England Game

Somewhat disappointingly for traditional broadcasters, yesterday's internet only coverage of the England v Ukraine World Cup qualifier went smoothly online from all reports we've heard - more than you can say about the game on the pitch. So, credit to Perform and their CDN partners, and Kentaro, the company that bought the rights.

But the BBC's last minute purchase of the highlights, the result and the availability of the coverage on the internet for free at sites such as www.iraqgoals.net, http://www.rajangan.net and justin.tv show that true geographic control is going to become more and more difficult to achieve. Streams are easier to protect than downloads, but geocontrolling is still crude. Ironically, the majority of the spillage for yesterday's game came from traditional television, where signals on overseas channels were rebroadcast on the web.

It's too early to say how the game did commercially. I heard from a reliable source that the BBC offered £1.5m for the live game, so Kentaro certainly paid more than this. The cost of bandwidth would have been relatively minimal - around £10,000 for every quarter of a million viewers by our calculations.

They were charging more than originally reported at £9.99 - £14.99, and will have recouped around £500k from other rights, including showing the game in a number of Odeon cinemas, so the break-even point is likely to be around 250,000 viewers. I wonder if we'll ever find out.

Update: Some interesting footnotes from my colleagues at Vidiactive - who were able to watch the game in full screen LCD glory thanks to the technology we're developing. Apparently the game was available at 500Kbps and 850Kbps, but allowed multiple logins using the same details, so there must have been some spillage on revenues if people shared logins (even if on the same network) and there were apparently some ads sold, which will have added to revenue (250k viewers would have generated around £30 - 50k in revenue I'd estimate).