Sports programming has always been seen as the last bastion of broadcasters and pay-TV operators in their running battle with streaming; it was content that could help them maintain their footing as more consumers turned to over-the-top delivery of their movies, news and episodic TV.
But that’s changing as more sports leagues, sports teams and sporting figures have discovered what everyone else knows: If you want to reach a larger audience — and to keep the one you have — you need to go over the top and be available on any device, anywhere and at any time.
And, just as streaming providers and content owners have learned that insights driven by data is crucial to their growth, so too has the sporting world.
Sports audiences take to OTT
A recent study from USC’s Annenberg School for Communications found that 78% of self-described “intense sports fans” who would pay for a sports-specific channel, would be willing to pay more for a sports streaming channel.
And, as we found they watch on every device in — and out — of the home.
More than half (54%) of sports content views begin on smartphones globally, that’s up 49% from a year ago. Connected TVs (CTV), meanwhile, saw a 312% increase in views over-the-top, with the highest completion rates of any device.
Some sports findings:
· In North America, connected TVs saw sports video views increase 730%, with computers (58%) used most often to view sports content.
· In Australia/New Zealand, CTV views were up 188%, followed closely by smartphone views (+135%). Smartphone’s share of views was highest at 68%.
· The Asia-Pacific region saw sports consumed most often on mobile devices (61%) but saw the highest completion rates on computers (61%).
· In Europe, smartphones ruled, with 71% of sports video views starting there. Y/Y views increased 71% on smartphones and fell 43% on computers.
· Japan/Korea, meanwhile, saw most sports views on smartphones (56%), with the highest growth in terms of views (+124%) also occurring on smartphones. Completion rates were highest on computers and tablets.
Mobile remains a ‘growth industry’
As 5G begins to deploy globally (Ericsson’s Mobility Report expects 2.6 billion 5G mobile connections by 2025) consumers will gradually see speed increases and use more data than ever before. Ericsson expects consumers to use 24 GB of data a month, compared to 7.2 GB today, with about half being video.
In Q3, we saw mobile’s share of video views increase to 62%, with computers trailing at 38%, a significant increase from a year ago, and even last quarter.
Smartphones saw more than half (52%) of all video views, up from 41% a year ago. It was the first time that video views on smartphones alone had the majority of share. The number of video views increased on every device but computers, showing that the migration of online streaming video from its original “home” was accelerating.
The number of views on smartphones increased in every region, with Y/Y gains from a low of 6% (North America) to a high of 33% (Middle East/Africa).
APAC (77%) and Middle East/Africa (60%) saw the highest percentage of video views on smartphones.
We expect the share of video views on smartphones to continue as consumers, in emerging markets especially, use smartphones as their primary screen.
Along the way…
The dominance of iOS continues to wane as more Android phones – especially more affordable models from China — continue to flood emerging markets.
Four markets remain solidly Android-based. Asia-Pacific is at an all-time high of 90% Android share, followed by Middle East/Africa (81%), Latin America (81%) and Europe (72%).
Continuing a trend, long-form video (21-40 mins.) and ultra-long-form video (41+ mins.) continued to see growth on all devices but computers, which slipped slightly.
Smartphones continue to see a large number of long-form (21-40 minutes) and ultra-long-form (41+ minutes) starts, 64% and 55% respectively. But, virtually every content length saw significant growth on all devices.