Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

CBS Takes a Second Shot at the Super Bowl’s Second Screen

Super Bowl on CBSSports.comIf you want to, you can watch the entire Super Bowl on the Web today, for free, on your PC or tablet.*

And maybe a handful of you will want to do that, for some odd reason. CBS, which is streaming the game, figures the rest of us won’t.

“Our firm belief is that when it comes to the Super Bowl, most people are going to choose the best available screen,” says CBS Interactive head Jim Lanzone.

But Lanzone and his advertisers, who are spending something like $12 million on digital ads today, do want to get some of your attention focused on the network’s site during the game.

NBC made the first foray into Super Bowl streaming last year, with mixed results. A bunch of people checked out the network’s Webcast, but many came away underwhelmed.

If you wanted to spend “second screen” time during the game, chances are you did it the way you always spend second screen time: On Facebook and/or Twitter, both of which logged a record number of comments during last year’s game.

This year, the CBS game plan sounds much better, at least on paper. The network has several features ready that seem like they’ll reward viewers who are ready to split their attention among multiple screens.

For instance, there’s an “all 22” camera angle, which will give football junkies a rare look at the entire field of play — something that’s usually reserved for the likes of NFL coaches.

There’s also what CBS is internally calling its “subservient chicken camera angle,” where a roving cameraman will take cues from viewers, and head to whatever part of the field he’s told to go. And CBS’ player will have the equivalent of a DVR that lets you rewatch a play you just missed.

You like watching the Super Bowl ads? Sure, they’ve got that, too. In many cases the ones that appear on the live stream won’t be the same as the ones on broadcast — CBS has sold the streaming ads separately from broadcast, at prices Lanzone says are higher than the network’s standard Web video pricing.

But CBS says you’ll also be able to watch the broadcast ads on its site, immediately after each one airs.

*Want to watch it on your phone? To do it legally, you’ll need to be a Verizon customer, download an app and shell out $5, because the carrier has exclusive mobile rights. But isn’t an iPad or Nexus 10 mobile, too? Well, yes. But mobile sports rights only make sense to lawyers and biz dev people.

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