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Sports Dominate ‘2nd Screen’ Social TV and It’s Just The Beginning

June 17, 2012

Earlier this month we commented on the rise of “Multi-Screen Interactive TV” and how Sports will be a hotbed for 2nd screen TV.   Over the past week or so we’ve observed new stats and commentary worth sharing that seem to support this notion.  In our view, its only just the beginning, and the Millennials demographic will lead the way.  They already are.

Big Recent Growth

According to a survey of more than 1,000 adult American sports fans conducted by Perform Sports Media group during February and March of this year.  Overall,  American fans spend an average of 8 hours per week consuming sports content.  The study cited some interesting stats (care of this post in Mashable). Note the year over year growth…

  • One quarter of US sports fans use social media to follow leagues, teams and players in 2012. In a similar survey conducted last year, that number was just 15%.
  • Twenty-two percent of sports fans queried said they used connected mobile devices to get breaking sports news. In 2011, just 13% of fans said they received breaking news via smartphones and tablets.
  • Fans aged 25 to 34 are the most mobile savvy, with 35% saying that’s one way they get breaking news — compared to 28% of 18 to 24-year-olds, and 15% of 35 to 44-year-olds who answered yes to the same question.
  • The most popular content accessed via social networks? 51% of fans who use the social web follow teams and leagues, while 46% follow individual players. 48% use social networks to access video highlights, 48% to access written articles and 35% to access news bits or interviews.
  • Streaming video is also a big winner in the Perform study. While 2 in 3 American fans said they use the Internet in general to follow sports, 45% of those who do said they stream video of live events. Nine in 10 fans who said they stream live video coverage claimed to do so only via official feeds.
  • Use of Internet-enabled TV sets, however, remains low, with just 5% of respondents saying they’ve used that method to watch sports. But more fans said Internet-connected television will have the greatest impact on sports consumption over the next two years than any other medium.
  • In terms of how American fans follow sports via social media, some of the findings are a bit surprising. WhileTwitter is often thought of as the most sports-friendly social platform, Perform found that just 33% of fans who follow on social networks use Twitter to do so. By contrast, 65% said they use YouTube and 89% said they use Facebook. 18% said they use Google+ to follow along.

Then there were these stats released by a new company quickly earning their stripes as the “AC Nielsen” of Social TV ratings, BlueFin Labs.  The first graphic, cut from their May Report (click here) show how social TV is growing (0ver 6X May ’11 to May ’12).

And this chart shows how Sports Social TV eclipsed Reality TV (usually a hot social TV category).

And here is some recent data reflecting NBA and NHL playoff TV

Update 6/25– Compare the above Sports-SocialTV figures above to these just released top SocialTV stats below.  Sports-Social is blowing away TV-Social.  TV’s highest Social program, Glee tops out at 195K social comments.  Note the timeline at the bottom comparing series TV to sports and special events (note in particular the differing volume scales dramatically favoring sports.  While some might argue sports is getting an unfair advantage in these comparisons because they are major events, we will argue that if we were able to obtain regional data reflecting the MSA-reach of a given team franchise compared to the same MSA for, say Glee, you would see similar sport-dominance.  It would be great if somebody had access to such data.  Let us know if you do!

Sports Are Unique

Unlike sitcoms or most network TV that can be time shifted via the DVR or Video streaming services like Hulu or Netflix, we believe sports is in a unique position to benefit from SocialTV because viewing sports is pretty much, a “live or nothing” proposition.   Only the die-hards will watch a sporting event after the fact.

Millennials Will Lead

We also believe the Sports-Social TV phenomenon will is being driven and will continue to grow out of the behavior of the Millennial-generation:  First, Millennials now now dominate the our demographic landscape (courtesy of LATimes):

Second: Millennials already exhibit the always-connected, multi-screen behavior SocialTV depends upon.  This excerpt best illustrates the 2nd-Screen TV viewing habits of Millennials:

Melissa McQuarter-Robinson, 14, is the kind of viewer the networks are struggling to reach. The Georgia high school student rarely watches TV shows as they air, and she considers her BlackBerry, HTC Evo phone and Sony tablet to be her primary screens. But as the ABC drama “Scandal” approached its season finale last month, Robinson became so enthralled that she had to see it live.

“I couldn’t miss it,” she said. “I was at home with my mom, watching it and commenting on it on Facebook.”

Emily-Anne Rigal, an 18-year-old high school senior from Williamsburg, Va., is a voracious media consumer. A devotee of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “The Real Housewives of New York City” and “Celebrity Apprentice,” Rigal scours the Internet for behind-the-scenes insights, video highlights and celebrity tweets, then broadcasts her discoveries on Facebook.

Rigal and Robinson illustrate Millennials’ desire for a 360-degree connection with their favorite shows, said Jess Weiner, a producer and media strategist who founded Parallax.

“Watching is not enough,” Weiner said. “She needs a tri-level experience. She wants to be able to find out more details online about that character, go to Facebook to be able to talk with the other fans.”

Media executives are embracing new technology to engage young viewers who are splitting their attention among multiple screens — often at the same time.   -read more-

To put it another way, “Multiscreen use is most prevalent within the younger generation and this is a behavioral pattern that is not going to change,” a media executive was recently quoted saying in a recent piece on multi-screen viewing.    She went on to say, “with younger, tech-savvy users multitasking on their devices, programs in the future might begin thinking about marketing with a mobile-first strategy.   As the behavior of multi-screen use begins to permeate through the older generation and brands and shows begin to develop apps specifically for certain viewer types, the adoption level of this behavior seems set to increase,” she said.

Our thoughts exactly.   We believe sports will drive adoption of social TV and the Millennials will show the rest of us how its done.

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