Despite technical problems, 15 million people watched Yahoo’s NFL live stream

Roughly 15.2 million people watched yesterday’s live stream of an NFL game on Yahoo, showing that the technically plagued broadcast wasn’t a total loser for it.

Yahoo plopped down $17 million to become the first-ever digital company to show an NFL game around the world exclusively online. Most of the viewership of the match-up between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars, which was live from London, came from the United States, with 33 percent from outside of the country, according to an NFL ratings release.

Despite seemingly boffo stats, like “over 460 million total minutes of video were consumed,” the average viewership number of the three and a quarter-hour broadcast was a low 2.36 million people per minute, well below the TV average of 10 to 20 million viewers per minute, reports CNN Money.

Still, it was a low-risk bet for the NFL since both teams are mediocre — the teams only have five wins combined this season — and wouldn’t have attracted a large TV rating, anyway.

The “key here from the NFL’s perspective is that we took a game that would have had relatively limited TV viewing in the United States and by distributing it digitally, attracted a larger audience and one which was global,” as the NFL spun it in a statement.

Yahoo made it hard to miss yesterday’s CBS-produced game. It got the autoplay treatment on Yahoo’s homepage and on its suite of apps, including Yahoo Screen. Despite the ease of access, lots of people complained about the jittery quality of it.

Fifty-four percent of the tweets during the game were categorized as negative, according to data from Brandwatch. Some of that conversation centered around people complaining about the stream not being TV-quality, including freezing or jumping.

Other people had fewer issues, as highlighted by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer who’s Twitter feed was full of retweets praising the stream: IMG_0065IMG_0064 Technical issues aside, the conversation online was about people complaining the game wasn’t shown on national TV (it was broadcasted in the team’s respective cities) or that they weren’t impressed with the teams playing, Brandwatch says. At least there was one highlight that everyone could agree on:

That might’ve made it worth watching alone.

Image courtesy of Yahoo.

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