March Madness Means Internet Madness - InformationWeek

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3/22/2006
11:46 AM
Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl
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March Madness Means Internet Madness

So who's watching March Madness basketball on their computers? Apparently millions. CBS SportsLine, which is offering games on-demand for free, said some 4 million visitors hit the site in the first four days. That resulted in more than 14 million live video streams being served up. It believes that's more than any live event in Internet history.

So who's watching March Madness basketball on their computers? Apparently millions. CBS SportsLine, which is offering games on-demand for free, said some 4 million visitors hit the site in the first four days. That resulted in more than 14 million live video streams being served up. It believes that's more than any live event in Internet history.For comparison, the launch of the space shuttle Discovery racked up about 2.6 million visitors. Global service provider Akamai said traffic on its network reached record levels thanks to March Madness. Last Thursday it served Web content for more than 102 billion Internet requests. Akamai tracks Internet traffic through its Net Usage News Index, a daily Web traffic report of total visitors per minute to more than 100 news portal sites. At approximately 3 p.m. last Thursday, Akamai said there were nearly 5.5 million visitors per minute looking for news and information content online. Other traffic peaks were on Sept. 12, 2005, when there was memorial coverage of the four-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and Oct. 2, 2005, after the bombings in Bali.

So if all of these people are watching basketball games on their computers, should we be worried about business productivity levels this month? (Note to my boss: I have been tuning in at work, but only to do research for my News Show video about it ... and maybe to check a stat or two, but that's it.)

In a press release, Larry Kramer, president of CBS Digital Media, said that "television will always be the centerpiece of the March Madness experience," but he thinks the online traffic numbers are encouraging. Hey, Larry, with numbers like 4 million in the first four days, I'm not so sure the TV will "always" be preferred medium. So please keep the sports action coming online. Go Blue Devils!

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