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NBC Bowl Stream Draws Crowd, But Net Dips for Big Screen

According to a blog posting on net traffic data tracker Sandvine, NBC's first-time streaming of the Super Bowl represented 6.2% of total downstream Internet traffic at 9 p.m. for, territory usually reserved for the Internet's biggest Web sites, according to the company.

But that percentage was of a traffic total that dipped markedly as most people still opted for the biggest screen. The game was the most-watched TV show in history, according to NBC.

According to Sandvine, figures from an unidentified "large fixed broadband provider," compared to an average for Internet traffic for the two previous Sundays, Super Bowl Sunday levels tracked about even until kickoff time, when traffic began to drop off and at one point was 20% lower than the previous two-Sunday average.

Among the biggest losers was Netflix, with Sunday night movie followers apparently forgoing the flicks for the passes and kicks. Netflix traffic, normally the most highly-trafficked North American site, according to Sandvine, was down 40%.

Winners were social network sites Twitter and Facebook, likely because users were providing their own real-time commentary on the games.

Sandvine points out that its traffic stats show that there is an increasing appetite for live streamed sports, backed by Google search stats showing an increase in active searches for streams.

"While the overall experience of Super Bowl streaming got some mixed reviews from users," said the company, "it is clear that live streaming is only going to get more popular, and if streaming is being provided for one of the most watched events of all-time, then users will soon start expecting it to be offered for everything they watch."