March Madness online viewing rises

Over 6 million fans watch CBS' Web coverage in first 4 days

More than 6 million fans logged onto the Web to watch part of the first four days of March Madness on Demand, CBS' live coverage of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. That puts MMOD on pace to exceed last year's event, which netted 7.5 million unique viewers overall.

CBS has predicted that this year's tournament will attract 10 million unique viewers by the time it ends April 5.

Fans also are streaming far more live content than last year. MMOD so far has delivered 8.7 million hours of live streaming video and audio, representing a healthy surge of 35% compared with 2009.

Web viewing reached its peak during the 2-3 p.m. hour Thursday and Friday as more than 910,000 hours of content was consumed. The biggest game so far has been BYU's double-overtime win over Florida on Thursday, which generated 521,000 hours of video and audio streaming.

The at-work crowd always has been a huge audience for MMOD, and this year those users are hiding their online viewing in droves. CBS has recorded nearly 3.3 million clicks of its "Boss Button" through the first four days.

That newly redesigned button allows users to click and hide the MMOD video player with a mock PowerPoint-like image.