Super Bowl Viewership: How Did You Tune In?

Posted on February 8, 2013 by Susie Gao

To say a lot of people watched the Super Bowl doesn’t exactly do this massive event any justice. Last Sunday’s game was one of the most-viewed sporting event of all time, with a whopping 108.41 million viewers. In fact, this year’s battle between the 49ers and the Ravens was the third most-watched program in U.S. television history, posting a 48.1 Nielsen rating. To put that into perspective, “only” 20.6 million people tuned in to watch as President Obama repeated his oath for a second term this past January.

The Super Bowl also took over social media channels, and thanks to the 30.6 million tweets and Facebook comments, BluefinLabs is calling it “the biggest social TV event ever.” One factor lending itself to the increase in social comments is the simultaneous surge of people who watched the game via live stream. Mashable claims CBSSports.com’s live stream of the game drew 3 million unique viewers who collectively generated almost 10 million live streams, up more than 100 percent from last year. What we witnessed was the first tangible instance in which a competition between the television and live-stream market was legitimate. It all boils down to the user experience, and with bonus features like access to different camera angles and instant access to social media channels, live-stream scored the extra point this year.

The Super Bowl is a great example of a larger trend we’re seeing. Consumers are increasingly watching video content on their mobile devices and looking to other types of technology, like connected TVs and set-top boxes, as a convenient way to watch television programs and events. Here are a few interesting stats to help paint the picture of exactly how these shifts are happening:

  • Almost 115 million households in the U.S. currently own at least one TV set and 36 million households own four or more, yet according to Nielsen’s most recent cross-platform report, the amount of time Americans spent watching video via a traditional television set rose less than 1 percent year-over-year as of the third quarter of 2012.
  • Time spent watching video via the Internet increased 37 percent, and minutes spent by mobile subscribers watching video on a mobile phone rose 25 percent during 2012.
  • Forrester estimates that 18.5 million households now use connected TVs to stream online video into the living room. Forrester estimates that by 2016, 66.8 million U.S. households will have connected their TV sets to the Internet and 89 percent of HDTVs sold will be connectable.

It’s clear to us that the market for set-top boxes, IPTVs and connected TVs is on the upswing and what Spansion is seeing when it comes to these technologies, is that consumers are most concerned with speed, efficiency and storage. At the heart of all of these systems lies Flash memory. It’s the component of the hardware system that provides high reliability to boot code and provide instant-on capabilities, which in turn gives customers a better viewing experience. Additionally, the boot code and operating system code require high random-read performance and data retention, making NOR flash an ideal non-volatile memory solution.

Spansion’s NOR Flash memory family is optimized for the voltage, density, cost-per-bit, reliability, performance and scalability needs driven by the increase in mobile video/television and connected televisions, IPTVs and set-top boxes. NAND flash is another viable option, as it provides a highly reliable, cost-effective solution for embedded data storage. Spansion’s ML NAND Flash family is available in 1-8 Gb densities with 1 bit ECC.

As this trend evolves, Spansion Flash memory will continue to enable manufacturers to take advantage of the shifting landscape by providing the reliability that new digital home applications demand. In fact, for the Super Bowl alone, 55 percent Spansion-powered devices were used to view the game.

We see the trend toward set-top boxes and a more digital experience continuing. Will it mean the demise of the traditional TV market as we know it? Not necessarily, but we do know that Flash memory will continue to have a huge role.

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