NBA Finals Boost WatchESPN And Sling TV Ahead Of Amazon Prime

Every streaming video site felt the impact of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, but WatchESPN and Sling TV experienced the biggest boost. According to
Qwilt
(a company that sells devices to network operators, which allow it to see what consumers watch),
Netflix, Inc.NFLX
typically accounts for roughly 36 percent of all traffic during the evening primetime hours. This ensures that Netflix maintains a significant lead over its competitors. YouTube is a mainstay at number two with roughly 12 to 14 percent of traffic. This is followed by the likes of Hulu, Twitch and Amazon Prime, which usually account for one percent each. Mark Fisher, VP of marketing and business development at Qwilt, said that WatchESPN and Sling TV typically account for less than one percent of traffic. "You could argue it's kind of noise but they're still important," Fisher told Benzinga. "What was interesting was because of the NBA finals and because these guys were, truthfully, a couple of the only legitimate options to stream live, they both popped up into 1.1 - 1.3 percent range. That's a big jump for them given that they're normally down in the noise level." While two newcomers enjoyed some gains,
Amazon Prime
dropped to number seven in Qwilt's video ranking:

Image Credit: Qwilt
Netflix maintained its position at the top, but Qwilt found that Netflix consumption dropped by more than 50 percent in Cleveland during Game 1. "What we're seeing -- more and more -- [is that] when there's a live event, people stream it," said Fisher. "That used to be the worst possible option because the experience was so bad. And now what we're seeing is [that] it's pretty good/getting better because people need that kind of flexibility. They have a mobile device, who knows where they are, and they want to stream. We see that as a good thing."

Related Link: Is Netflix Essential To The Future Of Pay-TV?

How Will Netflix Respond?

Are scripted shows and movies really enough for Netflix? "I was amazed at the drop in streaming traffic from the other guys -- a 50 percent drop in Netflix consumption -- when compared to the previous day," said Fisher. "We would never see that typically. That means audiences were dropping their viewing of 'House of Cards,' 'Breaking Bad' and tuning into the NBA." Fisher said that if this is what happens when a major event is shown on TV, "You would think [Netflix] would take a hard look at live streaming." "Of course, I think they tend to say, 'We're never gonna do that,' until the day they do," Fisher added. "Like Netflix saying, 'We're never gonna run ads,' perhaps until the day they do now that Hulu seems to be making progress on that front." Netflix recently began
showing ads
for its own original content, but only for some users. The company refers to these clips as "trailers for Netflix originals." Disclosure:
At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.

Posted In: Amazon PrimeHuluMark FisherNetflixQwiltSling TVWatchESPNNewsTech

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