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World Cup: Charting Video Consumption Trends

July 9, 2010 - 0 Comments

The buzz associated with the 2010 FIFA World Cup may have already peaked, but the results of how sports fans viewed the video from the tournament’s numerous games have left us with some noteworthy usage statistics to consider.

ESPN estimates that out-of-home viewing and usage of non-TV platforms adds an amazing 47 percent to ESPN’s daily World Cup TV average audience. Moreover, there are some interesting regional differences in the way fans in the U.S. consumed the World Cup events on television.

The U.S. Eastern time zone gets the greatest audience lift from out-of-home TV viewing (18%), while the Mountain and Pacific time zones have the greatest percent of time-shifted recorded viewing (16% and 13% respectively).

ESPN also estimates that 132 million people consumed World Cup related content across all ESPN platforms — that’s more than two out of five Americans. Of that total 132 million people, 90% watched TV, 27% used the Internet, 11% listened to Radio, 7% used mobile and 2% read ESPN The Magazine.

Online Activities Reach Record Levels

Soccer fan visits on was highlighted by the USA vs. Algeria game on June 23, which resulted in the largest U.S. audience ever for a single sporting event on the Web. ESPNSoccernet received more visits than any other day in its history and ESPN Mobile had the most-trafficked day to-date for World Cup content.

Overall online content consumption reached some impressive new highs. World Cup content on (includes ESPN Soccernet and ESPN Deportes/copa-mundial) delivered 87.5 million visits and 305.9 million page views from June 11-27. Based on the last reported estimate, 26.4 million video starts came from World Cup highlights, news and analysis content on the site.

ESPN’s mobile offerings (ESPN Mobile Web, ESPN 2010 FIFA World Cup App, ESPN ScoreCenter App) generated 70.3 million visits and 385.5 million page views to World Cup content. ESPN’s World Cup App has generated 3.1 million video views to date for World Cup highlights, news and analysis content.

The uptick in mobile internet video viewing is driven in part by the availability of innovative new smartphone display enhancements. In fact, some new models include 4.3 inch high-resolution screens which are tailor-made for video viewing. Other notable feature trends are HDMI output — enabling you to connect your smartphone to a HDTV set and view streamed video on much larger screens.

New Forms of Online Video Applications

Looking forward, the visual entertainment experience will become more smarter, applying embedded intelligence within the device to enable innovative value-added user applications. We anticipate that TV application development will likely become a significant point of competitive differentiation for pay-TV service offerings.

In the foreseeable future, video communication and collaboration innovations – such as Cisco TelePresence capabilities – will continue to enable applications like impromptu sports news video reporting in progressive new ways. We’ve already witnessed some creative examples with ESPN’s TelePresence application in South Africa.

Today, innovative service providers are already exploring imaginative ways to make the TV experience more interactive an engaging. Verizon has recruited 1,000 FiOS TV customers to host simultaneous in-home soccer-watching parties for the World Cup final. Each Verizon party-pack included a Cisco Flip Ultra Camcorder, which the hosts can use for some fun home video recording during their party — to capture the excitement of the live event and then share it online with others.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the continued blending of TV and Web technology will enable service providers to keep their entertainment value proposition at the forefront of the pay-TV marketplace. We’re eagerly looking forward to collaborating on these new ventures.

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