Football fans won't have to be cable or satellite-TV subscribers to watch the Super Bowl.
Of course, nobody technically needs to pay for cable to watch a broadcast signal like NBC's, but many consumers no longer have the antennas required to pull in signals over the air.
So Comcast Corp.'s NBC Universal is continuing the recent trend of streaming the game, this time between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots on Feb. 1, for free to encourage more customers to sign up for cable and access the network's array of online content. To watch on the web, networks like NBC normally prompt users to log in with pay-TV credentials like a Time Warner Cable account.
Networks are pushing to showcase their wide variety of content across devices and to attract younger viewers who have avoided paying for pricey pay-TV packages. The number of cable and satellite-TV subscribers has already begun to decline, jeopardizing the rising fees that networks can collect.
NBC said in a statement it will stream 11 hours of free content starting at noon in New York. Viewers can watch the Super Bowl, halftime show starring Katy Perry and midseason premiere of "The Blacklist" on computers and tablets. NBC doesn't have the rights to stream on smartphones.
Verizon Communications has exclusive rights to stream the game on most mobile devices through the NFL Mobile app to subscribers of its "More Everything" plan.
While the game has been live streamed in the past by other networks -- including NBC, CBS and Fox -- to promote cable packages, it's the first time NBC, specifically, has made the halftime show available.
NBC was the first network to live-stream the Super Bowl, back in 2012, averaging 346,000 viewers. CBS two years ago year streamed the Super Bowl to an average of 508,000. Last year Fox averaged 528,000, according to figures it attributed to Adobe Analytics.
~ Bloomberg News with Ad Age staff ~