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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

CBS Expects over 7 Millon Online Viewers for March Madness On Demand

march madness on demand

Economic recession won't keep us from enjoying March Madness and tracking our NCAA bracket, even if it's killing our productivity at work, and our viewing preference is shifting online.

Consider these figures for , March Madness On Demand viewing.
Jason Kint,general manager of, told USA Today he expects the number of unique viewers for March Madness on Demand, to rise 50% to 7.2 million viewers.Tne year after unique viewers grew 164% to 4.8 million and total hours of live video/audio consumed grew 81% last year to 5 million hours,and is close to $30 million in online ad revenue.

Obviously, many of those viewers include workers stuck in their cubicles. But what about viewers at home? Does March Madness on Demand siphon viewers from the CBS TV audience? CBS rejects the notion, but the stats may suggest otherwise,since last year's TV ratings for the tournament were down 7% and at the lowest level since 2003.
According to an article by Emily Steel in the Wall Street Journal ,CBS has nearly sold out its online ad inventory to 35 marketers including AT&T (NYSE: ATT)and Coca-Cola.It expects online ad revenue to reach about $30 million this year, up 30% from $23 million in 2008.

Here's the kicker. According to Steel.

Advertisers last year spent $643.2 million on the men's tournament on CBS, up 23.8% from $519.6 million in 2007.While Web usage has increased for March Madness, last year's final between Kansas and Memphis drew 19.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen -- down from 34.3 million in 1992. CBS says it has yet to finish its ad sales for this year.

The 1992 championship game scored high ratings for a reason- two premier programs.. Michigan's "fab five" team,starring Chris Webber, took on a Duke Blue Devils team that was playing in its fourth-consecutive Final Four and defending a national title. Michigan put up a decent fight for the first half, which is key to keeping an audience. Having said that, the Kansas Jayhawks have a proud history, and the 2008 championship game versus Memphis matched two high-scoring teams that battled into overtime,so the low TV rating was surprising.

Tell us if you plan to watch the tourney online this year.

By Matt O'Hern at 01:00 PM | Comments (0)

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