Thursday, June 19, 2008

BPN 1133 Live streams popular with Dutch football fans

The Netherlands is in a collective state of excitement. The national football (soccer) team is doing very well at the European Championship in Switzerland and Austria. The national team has survived the pool of death and has now reached the quarter finals. Coming Saturday the national team will play the Russian national team, coached by Guus Hiddink (he was born in the same village where I happened to be born due to the Battle of Arnhem during the Second World War; except his birth was one and half year later).

The excitement is also expressed in the streets with orange as dominating colour (orange is the colour of the Dutch royal family). Houses are decorated with the national flag and with orange flags and garlands. Complete streets have been decorated and people watch the matches together. More than 11 million people out of the 16,5 million inhabitants, watch the matches on television! And on a match day orange clothing is very much en vogue. You will never see so much coherence together in the Netherlands.

And business thrives well by this event. Especially consumer electronic shops do well. In the rush to the event, they had sold already 160.000 television sets. After each game they sell about 25.000 sets extra, mainly plasma and LCD screens. (We, my partner and me, do fit completely in this picture as we bought a 40 inch wide Sony Bravia).

EC Football is seen as a public event and is seen as a ‘must carry’ event by the public broadcast organisation. One of the Dutch public broadcast stations will carry all the 31 matches over two television channels, but will also offer live streams on internet.

But the EC Football event is also an incentive for public television to experiment. The public broadcast has the rights to the EC Football matches. So the public broadcast station NOS, a quango of the public broadcast stations, has introduced the opportunity to chat during live broadcasts of the matches; the only condition is that you need to be a member of the social network site Netlog. At Netlog members log into their account, see the live stream and can start chatting immediately. It is a virtual way of watching soccer games together.

It is remarkable that the live streams are consulted that much. Up to the 18 June, the first three pool matches, audio and video clips were consulted for more than 3,3 times. The clips are not just goals or summaries of the matches. The day after the match between the Dutch and the French there were 1,2 million page views. On June 18, when the matches Holland – Romania and Italy - France were played, there were 40.000 simultaneous internet viewers (over against 11 million television viewers), watching one of the two matches. It required 39Gbps in broadband; there were 1.1 million server requests during the matches.

Blog Posting Number: 1133


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