NBC Sports: Super Bowl, Soccer, Winter Olympics Drove Record 2018 Digital Streaming Year

On the strength of live streaming three of the biggest sporting events in the world — Super Bowl LII, the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, and Spanish-language coverage of the FIFA World Cup  — NBC Sports Digital delivered its best year ever in 2018.

The year is highlighted by 6.5 billion minutes of consumption for more than 90,000 hours of streaming coverage across more than 30,000 events. The year also set new streaming records for “Sunday Night Football,” the Stanley Cup Final, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Premier League, Notre Dame Football, the Triple Crown, and the NASCAR Cup Series, as well as regional streaming records for MLB, NBA, and NHL.

In 2018, NBC Sports Digital also grew Playmaker Media, its technology backend service, by adding NBC News, Formula One, and NESN as clients. It also added six sports passes to NBC Sports Gold, expanding its direct-to-consumer streaming service to 14 sports.

Fueled by NBC Sports’ digital coverage of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Super Bowl LII, NBCSports.com and Yahoo.com set a new sports category record in February with 93 million unique visitors. This marks the most unique visits since August 2016 when comScore’s sports category record was set on the strength of the 2016 Rio Olympics (110 Million).

“Sunday Night Football” achieved its most-streamed season to date. Through 17 games, SNF live streaming has already delivered 11.8 million unique viewers and 1.2 billion minutes, up 76% and 72%, respectively, over last season.

The 2017-18 NHL season (194 games) set digital streaming records in all key metrics delivering a record 4.7 million unique viewers and 753 million minutes, up 80% and 15%, respectively, over the previous season.

Justify’s Triple Crown horse racing victory set streaming records in all key metrics, delivering 653,000 unique viewers and 21 million minutes, up 26% and 125%, respectively, vs. American Pharoah’s Triple Crown in 2015, making it the most-streamed Triple Crown in history.

Live streaming of the 2018 Notre Dame Football season totaled 768,000 unique viewers and 53.4 million minutes, up 52% and 54%, respectively, over 2017, the most for a Notre Dame Football season on record.

Across NBC Sports digital platforms, NASCAR saw its best season ever, finishing with 1.2 million unique viewers and 151 million minutes, up 11% and 14%, respectively, over 2017.

Golf Channel had its best year ever for live streaming, short-form video, monthly unique viewers, and page views – which crossed the one billion page views annual mark for the first time ever. In total, Golf Channel’s digital properties delivered a record 4.5 million unique viewers and 645 million live minutes, up 62% and 60%, respectively, over 2017.

The 2017-18 Premier League Season (230 matches) set records with four million unique viewers, up 35% from the previous season. In calendar 2018, the Premier League earned three of its Top 8 most-streamed matches ever.

Through November, the year was already the most-streamed year in NBC Sports Regional Network history, with 579 million minutes across more than 1,500 MLB, NBA, and NHL games.

Super Bowl LII was the most live-streamed Super Bowl ever and the most-streamed single-game ever among all sports. Fans live streamed 633.7 million minutes of Super Bowl Sunday coverage across 6.1 million unique devices, up 185% and 112%, respectively, from NBC Sports’ last Super Bowl live stream in February 2015.

The PyeongChang Winter Olympics delivered 1.86 billion live minutes and was consumed across 32.8 million unique devices. It supported an Average Minute Audience of 211,000 viewers for the primetime presentation of the Games across 10 different platforms. The PyeongChang Winter Olympics delivered more than four times the live minutes of the Sochi Games (420 million minutes).

Telemundo’s Spanish-language live streaming coverage of the FIFA World Cup delivered 1.96 billion minutes and reached 15.5 million unique viewers, generating a record-setting 130 million live streams.

Cinedigm Eyes Super Bowl Discs, China, Hallmark to Help Turn Fiscal Corner

Cinedigm is banking on a pending Super Bowl DVD/Blu-ray Disc release, in addition to expanding streaming video distribution through its Chinese corporate owner, to help it turn the fiscal corner.

Speaking on the third-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2017) fiscal call, CEO Chris McGurk said he expects the March 6 retail release, Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl LII Champions, to generate 20% to 30% more than last year’s Super Bowl release.

“While we focus on growing our digital business, we also recognize that we can selectively and opportunistically generate increased profits as a last consolidator in the declining physical DVD and Blu-ray business,” McGurk said.

The executive said sales of Hallmark Christmas titles increased 43% in the quarter from the previous-year period due to online sales driven by Amazon.

Last December, Bison Capital infused a $10 million low-interest loan to Cinedigm as part of a $40 million investment, making the Chinese investment group majority owner.

“In connection with that closing, we retired the remaining approximately $50 million in convertible notes that we have been carrying on our balance sheet, completing the full elimination of the $64 million in notes issued in 2015,” McGurk said.

He said the company continues to streamline packaged media operating costs — $11 million slashed over the past two years, while focusing on select brands such as “Hitchcock,” “Gangster Land,” “Hallmark” and NFL.

McGurk said Bison’s capital infusion for content investment, underscored by a “much more open playing field competitively due to industry consolidation,” would help entertainment distribution going forward.

Specifically, Cinedigm plans to generate “significant distribution fees” by releasing select indie films theatrically and delivering home entertainment content to Chinese platforms, including mobile, TV and online.

“Our advantageous position in China and new joint venture with Starrise Media should help us bring in more premium high-return content, McGurk said.

The executive believes the Starrise agreement could generate upwards of $15 million in annual revenue.

Meanwhile, Cinedigm reported a fiscal loss of $5.9 million on revenue of $18.5 million, compared to a loss of $481,000 and revenue of $24.4 million during the previous-year period.

Through the nine fiscal months, net losses increased to $18.7 million from $5.7 million last year. Revenue fell to $50 million from $70.8 million.