Commentary

Controversy, Insults, And Even Racism Fuel Online Video Consumption

Europe is soccer- or football-obsessed, in case you didn’t realize it. In the U.S., there has been a fair amount of excitement around the UEFA Europe League matches that have just wound down.

And Pulpix, a video recommendation platform, has some interesting data about the games that may help publishers understand what type of video content hard-core fans are looking for.

“Criticism, retirement, insults, racism. What might sound like a daytime soap opera is actually an insight into the world of sports websites. Sports fans are more likely to engage with negative online videos involving athlete’s opinion than watching replays of game-winning goals.”

Yes, that’s according to a post on the Pulpix blog via Medium. Those are negatives, to be sure. But extreme passion is what fuels viewership, engagement, buzz, and sharing of online video when it comes to sports. Perhaps it applies to other categories as well—like politics. Watching a certain U.S. presidential candidate spew venom certainly racks up the video views.

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According to a recent study by the Global Sports Media Consumption Report, 68% of sports fans consume content online, while 42% consume sports content via a mobile device. And there are more than 3.5 billion football fans worldwide, according to the Alexa Traffic Ranking.

While the Global Sports Media Consumption Report found the sports content that’s most widely accessed online is live text commentary (used by 44% of respondents), Pulpix’s in-video recommendation tool found something else. Trash-talking other teams and gossip about players’ retiring were the subjects of videos that viewers most engaged with on sports Web sites. This buzz has nothing to do with the actual games and game play, of course, but instead focuses on the controversy around teams and players.

Further, using predictive technology that helps enable personalized video recommendations on sports Web sites, Pulpix, observed that once sports fans were engaged with content, they chose to further pursue video about athlete press conferences or major athlete gossip. Behind-the-scenes videos about fans’ favorite teams are also extremely popular.  Insight into players’ personal lives, goals, and opinions sparked interest as well.

Apart from actually attending a game live or watching on TV at a bar with hundreds of rowdy fans, it’s not hard to see why this type of video is consumed. It may even be consumed concurrent to watching games.

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