Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest day of the year for TV, generally with more than 100 million people tuning into the big game, regardless of how they feel about the competition itself. And with so much money going into every single second of airtime, one would assume all those seconds would go by without a hitch. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case with Super Bowl LII coverage, which saw a temporary blackout on NBC, with Hulu and Playstation Vue viewers also experiencing ill-timed gaps in coverage.
In the first half of the highly engaging Super Bowl LII, aghast viewers watched around 15-20 seconds of pure darkness instead of an expectedly goofy commercial or an action-packed movie trailer. TV blackouts are curious enough on a normal primetime evening, but people's attention was ramped up quite a bit for the biggest NFL game of the year, and Twitter offered an abundance of far-flung reactions. Some joked about it being the best commercial of all. Some joked that it was another one of Netflix's Cloverfield Paradox ads. But in the end, NBC released an explanation that was a little less exciting than all that.
The network likely wanted to cast aside any advertiser worries that the blackout had usurped any company's millions-strong timeslot. And since no businesses have come forth yet to throw NBC under the bus for failing to air any planned commercials, we'll assume the aforementioned reasoning is sound.
Meanwhile, Hulu subscribers were dealing with their own setbacks, and during a particularly hectic point in the game. It was around 10:00 p.m. ET, just as quarterback Tom Brady was trying to rally the New England Patriots to a late-game comeback, when many customers experienced the video and audio completely dropping out. It appears the problem may not have been uniform across all locations, as not everyone experienced it. And not everyone got the same kind of error messages, with some getting notified that rights restrictions were stopping the footage from airing, according to Deadline. Not long after the outage happened, Hulu took to social media to acknowledge the issue, and later apologized for it.
And then there was Sony's streaming platform Playstation Vue, which was apparently experiencing issues even before the game started, according to some disgruntled Twitter users. The problems persisted throughout the first half, and though the AskPlayStation Twitter page remarked that the problems had been taken care of, reports continued afterward. Like Hulu, it appeared that different users were facing different issues, depending on where they were located.
Hulu may have had some problems with its streaming, but the service definitely won over quite a few people by premiering its Castle Rock trailer during the Super Bowl. Hopefully it, along with all the other broadcasters and streaming services, will have their Ps and Qs in order by the time next year's Super Bowl comes around. To see what shows will be popping up on the small screen in the meantime, head to our midseason premiere schedule.