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BBC warns of England World Cup streaming delay

Quarter-final match against Sweden was the BBC's highest online-viewed live programme ever

The BBC has warned that those watching England’s World Cup campaign over streaming services could experience latency delays of up to 20 seconds.

Despite the broadcaster working hard to improve the situation, online streaming services still have a ‘significant’ time delay compared with traditional TV broadcasts.

ITV1 recorded a peak of 24.4 million viewers during England’s last-16 match against Colombia last Tuesday, while 3.9 million requested Saturday’s quarter-final against Sweden on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport.

A record 3.8m of these streams were live, making it the BBC’s highest online-viewed live programme ever, despite the broadcaster’s iPlayer service going down for a brief time on Saturday.

The BBC’s head of product – sport, Neil Hall told The Guardian: “It’s one of the flaws in an emerging technology. A number of years ago, people accessing streams online had to be in the office on a PC with a fast broadband connection. Now what we tend to see is around 45 per cent of stream starts are from people on mobile.

“While [delays] can be a factor today it shouldn’t be considered a constraint for the long term.”

Meanwhile, Edgeware has reported that many of its customers have experienced a doubling of their peak CDN streaming traffic on match days during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Its analytics data shows that, as expected, major cultural and sporting events like this create sudden surges in demand on OTT services.