Now your Super Bowl live-streaming experiences will mirror what you watch on TV, commercials and all. For the first time, CBS will air every national ad in near real-time during next year’s Super Bowl according to Variety. It could mean some significant changes for the commercials on Super Bowl 50, which airs February 7, 2016, as sponsors will now have to consider both online and traditional TV viewers for their ads.
“It’s a huge deal,” one media buyer said to Variety. “They are not going to let people opt out.” Previously, when advertisers had the choice to place ads on the telecast and the livestream, just 18 of more than 70 Super Bowl advertisers put their commercials online.
Considering that the lion’s share of Super Bowl viewers are still watching on broadcast TV, it’s not too surprising that most advertisers haven’t previously opted in to put their Super Bowl ads on the webcast. The webcast, which has grown year-over-year since it began in 2012, had 2.5 million unique viewers in 2015 according to Variety. While sizable, it’s certainly much smaller than NBC’s 2015 broadcast that averaged 114.4 million viewers.
“[The decision is] a significant industry admission that the manner by which viewers are watching TV — or better, ‘consuming video’ — has, effectively, migrated to a variety of screen environments beyond the confines of just the TV set,” said media industry consultant Tim Hanlon to Variety. “Given that splintering of viewing behavior, why wouldn’t advertisers demand that the presenting broadcaster ensure that their expensive and heavily promoted ads are seen across every viewing environment by which the game is being watched?”
Regardless of their opinion, the change certainly speaks to the CBS and the Super Bowl’s predictions about how viewers will watch the game in future years. Further, it’s one more signal that elaborately produced Super Bowl ads will continue to be aired for years to come — regardless of how they’re being watched.
And since as many of 78 percent of viewers are more excited about the high-profile commercials than the game itself, according to a poll referenced by USA Today last year, Internet viewers may be more than happy to get the full ad experience.