On Super Bowl Sunday, NBCUniversal is hoping that Americans tune in to the big game on something other than their televisions. The network announced Tuesday that it will offer users a free, live digital stream of its channel for 11 hours on Super Bowl Sunday, beginning at 12:00pm, without the subscriber login typically required to use the network’s TV Everywhere service.
The “Super Stream Sunday” promotion, which will allow users to watch Super Bowl XLIX as well as the season premiere of its hit show “The Blacklist,” is meant to hook people on the experience of streaming NBC programming through personal devices like tablets or smartphones.
“We are leveraging the massive digital reach of the Super Bowl to help raise overall awareness of TV Everywhere,” Alison Moore, exec-VP of TV Everywhere for NBCU told Variety.
Today’s move is the first example of NBC fulfilling a promise it made late last year to offer live, linear streams of its network broadcasts both on NBC.com and on mobile devices in 2015.
All of the networks are pushing to offer their programming to younger consumers who are either giving up their paid TV subscriptions or who never bothered to sign up for one in the first place. ABC allows pay TV subscribers to stream its content live on desktop and mobile devices in a select number of markets; CBS offers two different channels, the subscription-based CBS All Access and the ad-supported CBSN, though neither gives users access to live broadcasts. This past season, FOX offered streams of NFL games.
NBC was the first network to offer a legal stream of the Super Bowl back in 2012, as part of NBC Sports Live Extra, and the offering has come a long way since then. Instead of a frequently grainy image, NBC execs have vowed that streaming rates will range from 500 kilobytes per second to as high as five megabytes per second. Instead of a blacked out halftime show, users will be able to see and hear Katy Perry (NBC secured the digital rights, making this the first Super Bowl Halftime Show that will not be blacked out online).
There are catches, of course. Because Verizon Wireless has the exclusive rights to stream NFL games to smartphones, viewers will only be able to watch the games on their tablets or on desktop computers. The deal is also unavailable to users based outside the United States. They will have to use NFL Game Pass, a service offered by the NFL that costs $9.99, to watch the Seattle Seahawks defend their title against the New England Patriots.