Each year, viewers can watch more and more Super Bowl commercials online in the days leading up to, and immediately after, the big game. But in February, for the first time, Super Bowl audiences will be able to livestream the ads during the game, as well.
CBS is going to livestream, in near real time, every national ad that runs during Super Bowl 50, which the network will broadcast on Feb. 7. The network confirmed the news, which was reported today by Variety.
While Super Bowl advertisers have previously been able to purchase ads separately as part of the game's livestream, this will be the first time livestream advertising will be bundled with the linear buy.
That will help push the cost of Super Bowl 50's ads past the $4.5 million per 30-second spot that NBC charged this year. While CBS Corp. president and CEO Les Moonves told investors in February that CBS would "get north of $5 million" for each Super Bowl ad, the network is selling spots in the $4.6 million to $4.7 million range, according to a person with knowledge of the talks. And only 20 to 25 of the 30-second spots remain for sale, the source said.
NBC's livestream of Super Bowl XLIX this year was watched by 2.5 million unique viewers, a 9 percent increase from the previous year's game.
The ability to stream the ads in near real time—there will likely be a slight delay, about the length of an ad, between the broadcast and the livestream—might not seem like a big change to viewers who already watch many of the ads online leading up to the game. But CBS' big Super Bowl livestreaming move is the latest indication of streaming's increasing importance to the NFL, its fans and advertisers.
On Oct. 25, Yahoo will host the first-ever livestream of an NFL game, when the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills play in London.