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NCAA March Madness On Demand sets streaming video record

Online streaming live video of the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament topped out at 3 million viewers on Thursday, CBS said.

Bringham Young forward Brandon Davies faces Florida forward Alex Tyus in second overtime during NCAA college basketball March Madness on Thursday.

Sue Ogrocki/AP

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CBSSports.com has a message for NBC: This is how you do online video.

CBSSports is reporting that on Thursday, the first day of the Men's NCAA basketball tournament, it served 3.4 million hours of live streaming video to 3 million computer-bound fans with its March Madness On Demand player. It's being called the largest single-day of traffic for a live sports event on the Internet.

Last year CBS tallied 4.8 million hours for the entire tournament.

You know what that means: Lots of watching at the office.

And who can blame viewers, especially if CBS is going to stream all 63 games of the tournament online for free?

Well, bosses, for one. The "boss button" atop the player CBS March Madness On-Demand player, which mutes game audio and fills the screen with a generic-looking spreadsheet, was invoked 1.7 million times on Thursday, CBS says.

It would seem that CBS understands, where NBC and its delay- and registration-plagued Vancouver Olympics coverage did not: On a hot day for online video, a firehose wins you more friends than a pay-per-use drinking fountain.

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