Streaming services are gaining viewers, but latency is a concern for sports betting

Published on: August 20, 2022, 11:19 am.

Last updated: 20 August 2022, 11:20.

July was a historic month as Nielsen reported that streaming services accounted for the largest share of viewers that month. However, a key gaming executive said on Friday that the emerging technology still has a lot of ground to make up if it wants to attract sports bettors.

NFL logo TNF
Starting next month, most of the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package will air on Amazon Prime. However, streaming delays will present a challenge for those looking to bet on the game. (Image: NFLonPrime/Twitter)

YouTube, Hulu, Amazon Prime and other online services accounted for 34.8% of viewers last month. Cable TV attracted a 34.4% share. The streaming services’ gains, Nielsen said, came from viewers flocking to shows like Stranger Things. These numbers also account for fewer sporting events taking place during the month.

From July 2021 to March, the share accumulated by streaming devices varied between 27.7% and 29.7%. Since April, streaming services have eaten away at cable’s advantage until it finally overtook it.

With college and pro football resuming in the coming weeks, it’s uncertain whether streaming services will be able to stay on top. Sports, interestingly, may play a role as next month marks the debut of Amazon Prime’s exclusive Thursday Night Football package.

The streaming service will be the only way to watch 15 prime-time games, and that package begins in Week 2 of the NFL season. Prime’s lineup of games includes several popular teams such as the Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots, and Dallas Cowboys.

And starting next year, more college football games will be broadcast via streaming services. The Big Ten Conference’s recently signed TV deal with Fox, CBS and NBC includes several conference games that will be broadcast on NBC’s Peacock streaming service.

What is Latency?

While these games will draw millions of viewers, including viewers in the 20 states and the District of Columbia where online sports betting is legal, the current state of streaming technology means fans watching the game could be 45 seconds or more away far behind current action.

Conformable MediaKind, the long delay, called latency, is due to the way video and audio are captured and processed for online viewing. For those who watch on cable or have their TV connected to a pair of old-fashioned rabbit ears, the delay is less than 10 seconds.

For many who follow the game, the latency issue isn’t really more than a minor annoyance, but for people like me who like to tweet during games, it can be difficult to avoid learning about a big play before the moment. which you can watch.

The same problem affects sports bettors who like to place bets on the game.

“Critical” issue to address

In a series of tweets Friday night, responding to a TechCrunch article about neilsen numbers FanDuel chief commercial officer Mike Raffensperger acknowledged that streaming services are the future of television, but latency makes it more difficult for those looking to bet on the game or the outcome of the current push.

Live betting already accounts for about 50% of sports betting in the US, and that number is likely to grow.โ€ Raffensperger tweeted. “As more people watch live sports via streaming, it is critical for the industry to address the streaming gap.”

Many in the sports betting industry expect in-game betting to command an even larger market share in the coming years. This is fueling interest in emerging operators such as Betr, which focus their operations on in-play betting, and sports betting exchanges such as Sporttrade, which will allow bettors to change their positions on games as they unfold.

Raffensperger is not alone in pointing out the problem of latency. But until now, all the online discussion has focused on the current environment.

“No one has really presented a viable solution here, but the companies that find it first will be among the winners as this trend plays out,” added Raffensperger.

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