Fast-forward to 2014: comScore recently reported that 86% of the U.S. now consumes online video each month. That number is staggering when you consider that over 188 million Americans consumed online video in December of 2013 – a growth of over a million people in just four years.
Further, despite this year’s significantly lopsided contest, the Super Bowl, an event not available through digital platforms in 2010, was watched by an average audience of 528,000 viewers per minute, making it the most watched live stream ever for a single sports event. Fox Sports GO, which housed such live streaming, was the #1 most downloaded app for iPhones and iPads on Super Bowl Sunday and #2 most downloaded iPad app overall. So, what does this all mean for this year of sports video? What are the main challenges the digital portion of this industry will face in 2014?
These are not new questions for an industry that, while rapidly evolving, still lacks sophistication and thus, still has many CMO-level skeptics. Kantar’s recent report showing that only 24% of national brands are using digital video to market to consumers is concrete evidence of a slowed industry-wide adoption.
To facilitate the kind of growth that will keep pace with consumption and increased supply, the industry will need to leverage “video-neutral” buying strategies. Only those marketers that wholly embrace the value of viewership regardless of device (52” TV, desktop, mobile or otherwise) and can create more tangibility from this medium (data or otherwise) will continue as industry leaders.
Much as with many other advertising media, it’s incumbent on the sports industry to lead by example, given the scale that will always exist in this passionate market segment. Companies need to integrate sales teams, innovate to push new ad formats forward, and look for measurement standardization even when the results are unfavorable. They must also accept that while TV is still the dominant player, times are rapidly changing. The focus needs to be on digital right here and right now.
Once every four years, it arrives: the Year of Sports Video. While further along than in 2010 in terms of adoption, value proposition and scale, digital video still remains a TV amplifier or complement to a broader marketing initiative -- not even close, on multiple levels, to the main event.