March Madness Final Four: The Twitter Favorites are In

Guess what: The iPad launch isn’t the only thing happening this weekend. The last two games of the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament before the finals are going down this Saturday, and the Final Four have been getting lots of buzz on Twitter all week. Which kind of makes us think: Can you use social media as a predictor for tournaments like this one? And if so, who would win, according to the Twitter crowd?

It looks like it all comes down to Duke vs. Butler, at least measured by the number of tweets sent out over the last week, according to data provided by Trendrr. The Duke Blue Devils seem to be slightly more popular with the Twitter crowd, peaking at 44,373 tweets per day at the beginning of this week, but the Butler Bulldogs are following relatively close behind with a peak of 27,638 tweets.

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Millions Tune in for March Madness Online Live Stream

Three million people used the March Madness On Demand video player to catch the first round of the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Championship online yesterday, according to a press release sent out by CBS Sports (s CBS) today. Sports fans watched a total of 3.4 million hours of live streaming video and audio online yesterday, 20 percent more than in 2009. And the most-watched game even saw 50 percent more traffic than last year’s most popular first day face-off.

We’ll leave it to others to speculate how much of a productivity killer March Madness is, but the fact that CBS saw its biggest spike in traffic in the hour after 2pm Eastern — 533k streaming hours for the full hour, with a peak of 147k streaming hours between 2:45 and 2:59 p.m. — suggests that the championship may actually be an ideal lunch time companion, at least for us West Coasters.

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The Reality of A YouTube Front Page Feature

UPDATED: So we were on the front page of YouTube (s GOOG) on Saturday! That was pretty fun, though a bit surprising to the ten web series creators we featured, whose inboxes that morning were quickly flooded with subscription notifications and comments.

But what does being featured on the front page of YouTube mean for a previously unknown show, in an organically generated list instead of a sponsored slot? After an hour or so on Saturday of watching the viewcounts climb on our own video, I reached out to a few of the folks we featured to find out what their results were.
And the answer is: If you’re devoted to viewcounts, then being featured on the front page of YouTube is AWESOME. Just some of the reporting I got back:
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Online TV Audience Reaches 26 Percent

26 percent of US consumers watch TV programming online more than once a week, according to a new report from In-Stat titled “OTT Video Platforms, Devices, and Consumer Expectations.” And more and more of these consumers watch online video in the living room, thanks to game consoles, Roku boxes and Internet-enabled TV sets. In-Stat estimates that there were 24 million web-enabled devices in operation in the U.S. by the end of 2009, and its analysts believe that this number will grow to 102 million by 2013.

In-Stat analyst Keith Nissen went on the record to say that cable companies don’t have to fear cord cutters just yet. “Nearly 40% of consumer broadband household respondents want a combination of linear TV and on-demand TV,” he said, adding that to date nearly three quarters get all their video from their pay TV provider.
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Hulu, Vevo Take A Hit As Video Views Stall

comScore (s SCOR) released its Video Metrix numbers for January today, showing a decline across the board for all the major video sites. U.S. viewers watched 32.4 billion videos in January, compared to 33.2 billion views in December. The number of unique viewers also declined from 177.9 million to 173.4 million.

Two of the sites that seem to have been hit particularly hard are Hulu.com and the music industry joint-venture Vevo.com. Hulu was only able to generate 903 million views in January after breaking the magic barrier of one billion views in December. Vevo fared slightly better, but saw a huge decline of unique viewers.
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Pirating the 2010 Oscars: District 9 Beats Avatar

Which movie is gonna take home the prestigious Best Picture price: Avatar or The Hurt Locker? That’s the big question of tonight’s Academy Awards, if we can believe Hollywood pundits. Both movies have been nominated for nine awards, and anything seems possible.
Of course, Avatar has some commercial momentum on its side, given the fact that it’s been the most popular movie ever made — at least when it comes to ticket sales. However, there seems to be another option on the table, according to an unlikely panel of experts. BitTorrent-loving film buffs have been voting with their freeloading feet for weeks, and their choices might surprise even Hollywood insiders. The most-downloaded movie isn’t Avatar or The Hurt Locker, but District 9.
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NBC Celebrates Olympics Results, Others Beg to Differ

The first online audience numbers for the 2010 Winter Olympics are coming in, and NBC (s GE) is ready to celebrate: The network served 45 million video streams from the games, according to data it obtained from Omniture, and NBCOlympics.com doubled its page views compared to the 2006 Winter Olympics.
However, not everyone is ready to go join NBC’s victory party. The network restricted access to its online live coverage to paying cable, satellite or IPTV customers this time around, and these restrictions may have seriously hampered its ability to leverage its exclusive rights for the games online. Not only did other sites get a bigger audience, but a number of indicators seem to suggest that NBC’s audience by and large wasn’t too happy about the restrictions either.
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