March 1, 2010
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – Mar. 1, 2010 – CBSSports.com, in partnership with CBS Sports and the NCAA, today announced several upgrades to the NCAA March Madness on Demand (mmod.ncaa.com) video player that will be available for users when first round action from the 2010 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship begins on Thursday, March 18. NCAA March Madness on Demand (“MMOD”) is the only major sports event that is broadcast live and in its entirety for free on the Internet and has become one of the largest annual events on the web.
As was the case in 2009, CBSSports.com will again provide a standard video player in addition to offering viewers the ability to upgrade to a high-quality video player delivering an enhanced video stream. In 2010, NCAA March Madness on Demand will feature several upgrades to the viewing experience including the ability for viewers of the high-quality player to watch picture-in-picture highlights of ongoing action inside of a live video stream from the 2010 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.
Additionally, both the standard and high-quality 2010 NCAA March Madness on Demand video player will provide viewers the ability to show statistical overlays on top of live video action, displaying tournament and game leaders in categories such as points, assists, rebounds, and 3-pointers.
The NCAA March Madness on Demand “Boss Button” has been redesigned for 2010 as well. The “Boss Button”, which was clicked over 2.77 million times during the 2009 tournament, hides the live video action on the screen and silences the audio, replacing it with a “business-like” image. The new 2010 “Boss Button” image will be unveiled on March 14 prior to the NCAA Basketball Championship Selection Show which will be broadcast on CBS Sports and streamed live on NCAA March Madness on Demand.
NCAA March Madness on Demand’s standard video player will launch on March 10 with historical highlights from past NCAA tournaments and be available at NCAA.com (mmod.ncaa.com) as well as via MMOD links on CBSSports.com.
In 2009, the CBSSports.com production of NCAA March Madness on Demand recorded 7.52 million unique visitors in 2009, a 58% increase over 2008 figures. Additionally, there were 8.6 million total hours of video and audio consumed, a 75% increase over 2008 figures.
“It’s been amazing to watch the growth of NCAA March Madness on Demand since we first offered the product in 2003,” said Sean McManus, President, CBS Sports and CBS News. “Quite simply, it’s become the annual event for sports fans on the Internet and a perfect complement to the CBS Sports broadcast of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.”
“March Madness on Demand has consistently been one of the most successful online sports applications in the world when you consider the quality of the product, the upgrades to the program from year-to-year and the increased viewership each season,” said Greg Shaheen, NCAA senior vice president for basketball and business strategies. “We work with CBSSports.com and CBS Sports to deliver the highest standard video stream for our NCAA basketball fan base. If our audiences are unable to attend the tournament in person, March Madness on Demand offers them an attractive, easily accessible alternative for watching the games in the highest quality we’ve ever delivered online.”
“The upgrades and improvements CBSSports.com has made to NCAA Madness on Demand in 2010 will provide for an incredible online viewing experience,” said Jason Kint, Senior Vice President and General Manager, CBSSports.com. “Our goal has always been to give NCAA basketball fans access to all the games on all platforms – TV, online, and mobile, and through that process, we’ve built one of the largest streaming events in the world.”
In 2010, CBSSports.com will once again distribute NCAA March Madness on Demand across the Internet with its Developer Platform, allowing sites to link directly into the MMOD video player. The network of sites participating in the NCAA March Madness on Demand Developer Platform in 2010 will include popular news, entertainment, sports and social media sites such as CNN.com, ESPN.com and Facebook; CBS Interactive properties including TV.com, CBS.com, CNET.com and GameSpot.com; as well as other partners across the CBS Audience Network and sites for CBS television and radio stations and affiliates.
The 2010 NCAA March Madness on Demand standard video player will utilize Adobe Flash technology, while the high-quality player will again use Microsoft Silverlight to deliver the enhanced video stream. In 2009, NCAA March Madness on Demand teamed up with Microsoft Corp. to deliver the first-ever live and on-demand, high-quality video stream of a major sports event on the Internet.
By downloading the Silverlight high-quality player, users can upgrade their NCAA March Madness on Demand experience from the standard player (approx. 550 kb/s) to one delivering up to 1.8 mb/s of enhanced video action from the 2010 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. In 2010, the Silverlight high-quality player for NCAA March Madness on Demand will use IIS Smooth Streaming, a technology that automatically adjusts the video stream to the optimal bitrate based on system/computer/connection, allowing users the best possible viewing experience.
Both the standard video player and the high-quality option will be offered free of charge. For more information on 2010 NCAA March Madness on Demand and to download the Silverlight player for high-quality video, users can visit: mmod.ncaa.com.
NCAA March Madness on Demand is the Emmy award-winning video player that provides live streaming video and audio of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. Since its inception in 2003, MMOD traditionally provided live video of the first 56 games, starting with the first round, of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship as they were broadcast by CBS Sports, with local broadcasts being subject to blackouts.
Beginning in 2008, MMOD began showing all 63 games, from the first round of the tournament through the semifinal and final games of the Men’s Final Four® making it the only major sporting event that is broadcast live and in its entirety for free on the Internet. In addition to live video, NCAA March Madness on Demand also provides live audio from the Westwood One radio broadcasts of the entire NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, including the opening round game*.