Paramount+ Leads Streamers, Fubo Lags Behind as Streaming Latency Reportedly Increases for Super Bowl LVIII
The lag time between live action on the field and when viewers saw it on their screen was as much as 86 seconds for some fans.
Fox was showered with praise at this time last year for its marked reduction in streaming latency for Super Bowl LVII. The channel managed to reduce the delay between streaming on the Fox Sports app and what viewers of the over-the-air (OTA) broadcast saw to almost zero, and fans began to hope that streaming technology was finally catching up enough that long delays on streaming were a thing of the past. Those fans were likely highly disappointed last night, as a new report from Phenix shows that streaming latency for this year’s Super Bowl climbed precipitously as compared to last year.
- Paramount+ was the best streamer in terms of latency, lagging 42.73 seconds behind the broadcast on average.
- Fubo was the worst offender, with a latency of 86.75 seconds on average.
- The average cable delay over broadcast was 50.40 seconds, showing why the adoption of OTA antennas has climbed.
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Which Streamers Were Best, Worst at Reducing Delays?
CBS was the channel carrying Super Bowl LVIII, so it’s good news for Paramount Global that its own streamer was the best at reducing delays. Paramount+ led all streaming sources with an average latency of 42.73 seconds, according to Phenix. No other streamer managed to average a latency of under 50 seconds, but YouTube TV came closest, lagging 55.54 seconds behind the OTA broadcast of the game.
The longest delays were experienced by customers who watched via CBS on Fubo and Hulu + Live TV. The latter streamer’s viewers saw a delay of 70.16 seconds, while Fubo’s subscribers were forced to wait an average of almost 90 seconds for the action on their screens to catch up to the broadcast.
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The Streamable's own expert user tests demonstrate that not all customers in all areas experienced the same delays. For example, our attempts found that Paramount+ was experiencing a delay of around 43 seconds, right in line with Phenix’s numbers. For us, however, DIRECTV STREAM and YouTube TV experienced latency of less than 20 seconds each, which was far below Phenix’s average latency time for those two services.
“Rabbit ear antennas, which were introduced in the 1950s, are making a comeback in 2024, and it’s because people are resorting to old school solutions to get real-time updates,” Phenix CMO Jed Corenthal said. “In 2023, consumers on average spent $48 a month on streaming services, so spending even more when the technology exists to better the streaming viewing experience, is simply put, unacceptable. Fans are becoming increasingly frustrated and we are reaching a tipping point - changes need to be made to bring the ‘live’ to televised sporting events into 2024.”
What Can Customers Do to Avoid Latency?
It’s safe to say that streaming providers know latency is a problem. Watching “live” sports and seeing action 45 seconds to a minute after it happens on the field is a big issue for viewers, especially when so many of them use a second screen to browse the internet while watching. That leads to spoilers, and in a game like last night’s Super Bowl that goes to overtime, having up-to-the-second knowledge of what’s going on is crucial.
A survey from late 2022 found that digital OTA antennas were being purchased more frequently and used more often in the United States. Antennas are useful devices for delivering sports on broadcast channels for this very reason; fans will see action on their screen as close to live as physically possible while watching with an antenna.
Prime Video has been working on technology to cut down considerably on latency, and just this weekend it was announced that streaming service would be getting its first-ever NFL playoff game next season. Viewers will get to put its latency technology to the test then, assuming it’s ready for distribution to audiences by that time. In recent months, YouTube TV has been giving customers more flexibility to change their settings in order to limit the delay on broadcasts. However, that does come with tradeoffs as setting the service to reduce broadcast delay can result in transmission interruptions or a less-than-crystal-clear picture.
Unfortunately for customers, the problem of streaming latency when it comes to watching live events is mostly up to providers to solve. Audiences can take matters into their own hands by buying an antenna, but other than that, there’s nothing to do but wait and hope streaming media providers crack the code to cut down on latency for the biggest games.
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