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Media

Big Online Crowds for World Cup, But No Way to Count

ESPN is touting “record” numbers for online viewership of the World Cup soccer matches—but the absence of independent ratings, which advertisers typically demand, and the comparatively modest overall size of the Internet audience are indicators of just how far streaming TV still has to go to become a mainstream medium.

Last week’s game between the U.S. and Germany peaked at 1.7 million online viewers and 3.2 million unique viewers over the course of the broadcast, according to figures released by ESPN. That’s about one-tenth the number of people who watched the game on conventional TV. (A big audience is also expected for Tuesday’s U.S. - Belgium contest.)

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