When the NFL signed a new mobile streaming deal with Verizon in December, a crucial part of the deal was allowing users on non-Verizon carriers to access streamed games. Now, it looks like that kind of mobile streaming will extend not just to games streamed on Verizon platforms like Yahoo and go90, but also to other companies jumping into the mobile streaming market.
Since 2016, CBS has streamed NFL on CBS content through their All Access over-the-top subscription platform (subscribers get the games shown on CBS in their local market), but only to connected TVs, computers, and tablets. The company announced Monday that their All Access NFL on CBS streaming is expanding to mobile phones as well, and that NFL on CBS streaming will also now be available for authenticated cable or satellite subscribers as well as All Access subscribers:
CBS Corporation (CBS) and the National Football League today announced an extended agreement to stream all NFL ON CBS games on CBS All Access through the 2022 season. CBS will also now expand its NFL game streaming access for CBS All Access subscribers and TV Everywhere to include mobile devices beginning this season, adding to its distribution across other connected device platforms.
…In addition to extending CBS All Access streaming rights to mobile devices for the first time, NFL ON CBS authenticated streaming rights will extend to mobile for its cable, satellite, telco and vMVPD partners beginning this season.
“We’re very pleased to extend and expand our partnership with the NFL and give our viewers andCBS All Access subscribers the ability to stream NFL ON CBS games on mobile phones in addition to all other platforms for years to come,” said Marc DeBevoise, President & Chief Operating Officer, CBS Interactive. “This deal enables us to deliver even more value to NFL fans, our subscribers and our distribution partners.”
“We are excited to extend our partnership with CBS as it aligns perfectly with our goal of providing NFL fans with greater opportunities to watch NFL games across digital devices,” said Hans Schroeder, Chief Operating Officer of NFL Media and Business. “The 2018 season will mark a new era for NFL fans with unprecedented access to NFL games across digital platforms.”
Adding mobile devices here is a significant change, and one that should make it much easier for fans to watch NFL on CBS games outside their home. And the quotes from Schroeder there are notable, as they speak to the NFL’s larger expansion of digital platforms, and to the way they’ve opened up mobile streaming to multiple companies rather than just Verizon. That probably makes sense for the league, which can now gain revenue and audience from a whole bunch of companies for mobile streaming (similarly to how they benefit from splitting their TV broadcasts across networks), and it certainly has some advantages for CBS, which now has an extra way to push the benefits of All Access and can also expand its NFL on CBS reach to traditional cable subscribers who aren’t at their TV during a game.
While streaming numbers are still small relative to TV numbers, their importance is rising rapidly. It’s notable that the global streaming record (an estimated 5.5 million simultaneous viewers at peak) metrics provider Conviva said was set during this year’s Super Bowl was already beaten by 40 percent (7.7 million) for the Argentina-Iceland group-stage match at this year’s World Cup; it seems likely that record will continue to be advanced as that tournament moves along. And streaming rights for the NFL are rather important, as Amazon’s giant Thursday Night Football deal indicates. Streaming is becoming a key part of the sports ecosystem, and this is just the latest part of that, but one that’s quite important for CBS and for its subscribers, both traditional and All Access.