commentary With 3 Mobile's streaming cricket service now nearing the end of its fourth year, we were wondering what you, our readers, thought of the service.
Last week, 3 Mobile held an event to celebrate record ratings for its mobile-only cricket "TV" show, The Pitch. According to the company, this summer the show improved its ratings by 132 per cent from 21,000 to 50,000 viewers. This sounds impressive at first, but let's not forget that this figure is for this summer's entire 23-episode season, and that the so-boring-I'd-rather-do-the-dishes Cricket Show pulls about 10 times the number of viewers in one single episode.
Of more significance is the 2.8 million streams of Cricket TV — live coverage and highlights — that 3's subscribers watched during the summer of 2007/08, and we'd be surprised if the numbers for this season's matches against New Zealand and South Africa weren't an improvement on that. From what we've seen of 3's Cricket TV, though, it's a pretty hit and miss affair.
On the one hand, it's cheaper than a bucket of lard from KFC — AU$2 for a day's action or AU$8 for a monthly pass — which buys a lot of forgiveness, not to mention patience, both of which we had to exercise with monk-like regularity.
Sitting in forgiveness' corner is the blocky vision, which is fine for watching classic catches or examples of stunning stroke play, even on a small mobile phone screen. Forgiveness was harder to find, however, whenever we had to sift through a mountain of artefacts to find that brilliant in-swinging yorker.
We notched up many an hour in the patience ledger as we attempted to connect to 3's live stream of Channel Nine's coverage — at times it was man-isn't-technology-wonderful easy, although we tended to remember the gawd-will-I-connect-before-I-retire moments more. As a fellow cricket tragic noted: once hooked up there was a reasonable chance of dropping out, especially as signal strength dropped towards 50 per cent, making a spot of cricket on the train ride home a frustrating affair. To add to that, watching cricket on his mobile sucked enough juice to power a small African village for a week.
Despite the low, low price, our preferred methods for following this summer's cricket has been, in order of preference, to listen to the ABC's commentary (whether on the wireless or over the internet; Kerry O'Keefe, Glenn Mitchell and the rest of the team are far superior to Nine's bunch of gallahs), bask in the glory of Nine's HD telecast, conveniently schedule days off around the cricket, have an appropriately timed pub lunch or enjoy the company of 20,000 of my closest friends at the SCG.
Give us your thoughts on 3's Cricket TV service and tell us how you follow the cricket in the comments section below. Also, don't forget to vote in our near zero-effort poll.