Every Minute Matters: What Super Bowl Streaming Data Taught Us About Customer Retention
March 04, 2024

Peter Pezaris
New Relic

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This year's Super Bowl drew in viewership of nearly 124 million viewers and made history as the most-watched live broadcast event since the 1969 moon landing. To support this spike in viewership, streaming companies like YouTube TV, Hulu and Paramount+ began preparing their IT infrastructure months in advance to ensure an exceptional viewer experience without outages or major interruptions.

New Relic conducted an omnibus survey of more than 1,000 US adults to understand the importance of a seamless viewing experience and the impact of outages during major streaming events such as the Super Bowl.

Here are three key takeaways from the survey results:

1. Outages Lead to Lost Viewers

With customers paying a monthly fee to stream live events via platforms, it's no surprise they expect an uninterrupted, seamless viewing experience. Viewers want to get the most out of their money while streaming NFL games and other live events and do not hesitate to switch providers due to interruptions during the stream. In fact, 58% of survey respondents said they would switch to a different provider to continue watching live events in case of interruptions, with Gen Z (64%) and millennials (63%) being the most likely to switch streaming services.

2. Every Minute Counts During an Outage

When an outage occurs, quick resolutions are critical for streaming platforms to retain viewers. Successfully broadcasting live events means capturing every second of the action, so an outage on a streaming service means fans could be missing game-changing moments. For streaming service customers, the timer to switch providers begins the second the stream experiences an outage. Nearly half (48%) of survey respondents said they would wait less than 10 minutes before switching providers, with baby boomers being the most likely at 55%, followed by Gen X at 49%.

3. Customers Are Quick to Cancel Subscriptions

Beyond simply switching platforms during a live event, consumers have more streaming services to choose from than ever before, which puts streamers in a tough spot: They know an outage could cause a poor customer experience and, consequently, subscription cancellations. A blip during an event like the Super Bowl could impact the providers' customers and their bottom lines.

The majority (63%) of survey respondents said they would consider canceling a streaming service due to an outage during the Super Bowl or another live event, with millennials being the most likely to cancel at 70%. Moreover, 40% of respondents said they would wait less than 30 minutes to cancel their subscription to a streaming service during an outage.

If this year's record-breaking Super Bowl viewership taught us one thing, it's that every minute matters when streaming high-volume live events. Amid more competition and strong consumer demand for uninterrupted viewing experiences, streaming companies will increasingly have to ensure their applications are well-equipped to seamlessly broadcast major live events such as the Super Bowl, the NCAA's March Madness, or the Olympic Games.

Peter Pezaris is Chief Design and Strategy Officer at New Relic
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