Data from Sling TV and Turner Sports show that consumers are streaming the early phases of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in heavy doses, but another batch of data from Qwilt offers a different view of those usage levels.
On Friday (March 18), Qwilt, a supplier of open caching systems that create an “intelligent buffer” that normalizes peak network traffic, found that in the case of one U.S. network operator, live streams from the tournament handled by Qwilt’s caching systems represented 47% of site traffic, only behind Netflix. In another example with a different U.S. network operator, NCAA live streams were even higher, and only trailed Apple apps and Netflix.
“Cache Efficiency, which refers to the percentage of streams which, due to their popularity, will be stored on and served from the open cache, will continue to increase as tournament play continues and the increasing audience is concentrated on a smaller number of teams and games,” Qwilt’s Mark Fisher explained in this blog post, noting that the company expects cache efficiency to increase further by the end of the tournament.
He said Qwilt’s caching platform, currently deployed in more than 100 networks worldwide, has been optimized to handle sources of March Madness streams, including those coming way of CBS, TNT, TBS and TruTV
“Events like March Madness illustrate the challenge of managing network capacity for peak events,” he added. “These events, such as the World Cup, Olympics, World Series and Super Bowl will continue to create extreme peaks of traffic that can’t be managed in traditional ways.”