Since the World Cup kicked off on 13 June, TVNZ has clocked up over 230,000 streams of the content available via its online hub dedicated to the event.
According to Jason Foden, the broadcaster's general manager of on-demand, this level of engagement matches that which TVNZ had during the preliminary rounds of the America's Cup.
"I don't think we'll reach the heights achieved during the last few races of the America's cup—those numbers were huge," says Foden. "But the numbers will definitely lift as the competition progresses to the latter stages."
At this stage, the single most-watched live stream of the tournament was the opening match between Brazil and Croatia, which accounted for almost 42,000 streams.
Foden says that his team has noticed a shift in the way viewers are consuming content in the sense that 24 percent of all streams have been through mobiles and tablets—and this jumps to 36 percent over weekends. Interestingly, he says that percentage of mobile users has increased markedly since the America's cup.
He says that this shift is working in TVNZ's favour, because it allows the broadcaster to tap into an audience that would normally be out of reach.
"Only the die-hard fans wake up at 4am to watch to the games live," says Foden. "What we're seeing is people logging on in the morning when they are presumably in bed or having breakfast and watching the content through their mobile phones and tablets. This is proving complementary, because it's an additive audience."
Another factor that has allowed TVNZ to drive audience numbers is the flexibility of its broadcast deal with FIFA. Previously, TVNZ was able to switch its broadcast from the dead rubber game between Australia and Spain to the group decider between Chile and the Netherlands. This was again seen this morning, when TVNZ opted to screen the match between Italy and Uruguay rather than the England and Costa Rica game, which was initially scheduled to screen.
Interest in the competition is also being reflected in terms of the number of unique browsers that are visiting the website. Thus far, Nielsen's statistics show that the two biggest days in terms of website visitors were 13 June (the opening ceremony) with 190,500 visitors and 21 June (the England vs Italy game) with 101,700 visitors. Comparatively, the biggest day for the America's cup was 19 September, when 352,000 people logged on to see how the Kiwi team was doing.
Given that the tournament hasn't even entered the knockout stages yet, this engagement will certainly grow as the tournament progresses to the final held in Rio on 14 July.
But added engagement will place increased pressure on the TVNZ servers and, as witnessed during the America's Cup, this might coincide with some glitches.
"We've had no technical glitches so far," says Foden. "We've done a few small updates here and there, but we're confident that we'll be able to handle high viewership numbers."