Study reveals on demand sport growth eclipses that of live streaming

The growth of on demand sports content significantly surpassed that of live streaming over the past year, according to by analysts Conviva.

The report detailed that the ‘moderate’ 93% growth of live streaming was eclipsed by the video on demand viewing, which grew much faster than live at 155%.

The research comes as rights holders continue to adapt to evolutions in the way fans engage with sports continues. A key element of what may be hindering the growth of live streaming, is the ‘silent engagement killer’ that is ad buffering. The study described ad buffering as being a longstanding ‘blind spot for streaming providers’.

It added: “When content or ads are viewed in isolation, it’s easy to miss the big picture. Visibility throughout the stream, from pre-roll on to completion, reveals buffering is a continuous threat to engagement. In Q2, for viewers who didn’t even make it through 5% of their content, pre-roll ads tallied an average rebuffering ratio of 1.59%. 

“When a viewer did make it past that 5% threshold, an indication they are engaged with the content, pre-roll ad buffering was 0.40% on average. Even a seemingly small decrease in average pre-roll ad buffering can result in large increases in content engagement and magnetisable viewing time. Overall, the average pre-roll ad buffering ratio was 1.09% in Q2 2019.”

Further emphasising the changing climate for sports broadcasting and how the industry is evolving to cater to different platforms, the research outlined that Facebook and YouTube saw 15% more videos posted as news media led with the largest growth in average total video views. 

Insider Insight: The study affirms the need for creativity amongst advertisers and rights holders, the days of being able to engage sports fans with a 30 second advert are very much done.

Rights holders are also required to exceed just streaming sports, it’s become imperative that they enrich their offering with short-form, more digestible content. It’s undoubtedly something that has worked well for Sky Sports in the UK, now offering Premier League highlights on YouTube.