Streaming numbers were the only super thing about Super Bowl 2019

Super Bowl 53 will go down as one for the record books, but not in the way you’d normally expect. In fact, on almost every front, this year’s game was a collection of lows,. It was the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever, the halftime show featuring Maroon 5 was considered by many to be snore-worthy (even Adam Levine’s bare chest couldn’t spice things up), and the game drew one of the lowest TV audiences in years. Just about the only stat that went up was the number of people who chose to stream the game — and that was an all-time high. Here’s how the game looked from a viewing perspective.

The broadcast, delivered by CBS, got 98.2 million viewers, according to Nielsen, down from 103.4 million in 2018. The last time a Super Bowl saw a TV audience size this small was back in 2008, when New England took on the New York Giants. That game only had 97.4 million TV viewers.

By contrast, streams of the this year’s game came in at a record-breaking 2.2 million viewers, a 31 percent increase from the prior year. One big reason for the streaming boost was its massive availability. Viewers were able to tune in on their devices without authentication via CBSSports.com, the CBS Sports app, NFL.com, the NFL app, YouTube TV, and Verizon mobile properties — including Yahoo Sports, Yahoo, AOL, AOL Sports, and, oddly, Tumblr too, according to TechCrunch. It was also available via CBS’s online subscription service, CBS All Access.

Cord cutters may have rejoiced at the number of ways they were able to access the game without a cable or satellite box, but data from streaming infrastructure company Phenix suggests that these viewers ended up seeing the on-field action up to 46 seconds after it actually happened. While this might not be a big deal if you’re sitting in front of your TV with social media turned off, but it could be fairly annoying to have your Twitter feed blow up because of a fumble while you’re still watching the 40 seconds of gameplay that led up to that moment. Phenix measured the streaming lag — which varied significantly by service — by setting up a booth at the game itself, so it could see the difference between live and streamed action.

super bowl streaming 2019 superbowl average
Credit: Phenix

According to Reelgood.com, those millions who chose not to watch the game weren’t exactly outside getting fresh air (unless they lived in New Orleans). Here are the shows that people found more interesting than gridiron warriors and Maroon 5:

Top movies:

  • Polar (Netflix)
  • IO (Netflix)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (Netflix)
  • Incredibles 2 (Netflix)
  • FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (Netflix)

Top shows:

  • Sex Education (Netflix)
  • T@gged (Hulu)
  • True Detective (HBO)
  • Vikings (Prime, Hulu)
  • Game of Thrones (HBO)
  • You (Netflix)
Product Review

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are a brilliant combination of value and comfort

With six hours of battery life, an extremely comfortable fit, sweatproofing, and a very palatable price tag, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are putting all other true wireless earbuds on notice.
Home Theater

Apple is arming up to redefine TV just like it did the phone

Curious about what Apple's answer to Netflix will be? Us too. So we combed through some patents, and looked at the landscape, to come up with a bold prediction: Apple's streaming service will be way bigger than anyone thinks.
Home Theater

Still wondering why you should buy a smart TV? Here's what you should consider

If you've been living under a rock, you might wonder: What is a smart TV, anyway? Luckily, we've put together a quick-hit guide to teach you everything you need to know about televisions with big brains.
Home Theater

Make the most out of your new Apple TV with these must-have apps

If you're looking to turn your fourth-generation Apple TV or Apple TV 4K into an all-in-one entertainment powerhouse, we can help you get started with this list of the best Apple TV apps you can download.
Movies & TV

An Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series might be headed to Disney Plus

Disney is bringing the full weight of its massive content library to its own streaming service in 2019. How will Disney Plus compare to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime? Here's what we know so far.
Computing

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.
Movies & TV

LeBron James’ Space Jam 2 gets an official release date

LeBron James has brought on Black Panther director Ryan Coogler to produce his upcoming Space Jam sequel, with Terence Nance attached to direct the film. Space Jam 2 is expected to hit theaters in July 2021.
Home Theater

Apple may be making noise-canceling headphones safer to use on the streets

Over-the-ear headphones are massively popular, but they block a lot of outside sounds, which increases the risk of accidents. A new Apple invention hints at a way to have great sound, and great safety, and it might be coming soon.
Movies & TV

Battle of the movie ticket sites: How to make sense of the fledgling industry

MoviePass may be the industry leader in subscription-based movie ticket sales, but the company's troubles have opened the door for competitors AMC Stubs A-List, Sinemia, and Cinemark Movie Club. Here's how the services compare.
Home Theater

Bask in the glory of your home theater with these 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray movies

What good is a 4K TV if you don't have the means of pushing it to its limits? Here are our favorite 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays, all of which are nothing short of stunning. It'll make you wonder why you haven't always watched movies this way.
Home Theater

Get the most boom for your buck with the best headphones under $100

Everybody wants a bargain, and this list has a bunch. For those looking for a solid set of headphones without spending a big stack of cash, this list is is your starting point. Check out our picks for the best headphones under $100.
Home Theater

Wireless headphones are finally awesome, and these are our favorites

With sleek form factors, prime audio quality, and the freedom of untethered listening, there has never been a better time to pick up a pair of wireless headphones. These are the best ones currently available.
Home Theater

The best noise-canceling headphones paint your music on a cleaner canvas

Drowning out the sound of babies, jet engines, and the outside world isn't as difficult as it seems. Here are the best noise-canceling headphones, whether you're concerned with style, comfort, or sound.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (February 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.