Why Sport Needs More Content Than Just The Games

Why Sport Needs More Content Than Just The Games
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We’re becoming more and more obsessed with video, and when it comes to sport we want more than just the game. Media owners need to be aware of this, argues Mark Stanton, general manager ANZ of video company Brightcove. Here’s what they need to know.

We’ve probably all been there before. Strolling into work half asleep after a long night watching the final match of the English Premier League or the covenant Super Bowl game. But what other option do we have? Australia’s unfriendly time zone means we’re often forced to stay up late to catch our favourite international sporting matches live because after all, there is no other way to watch a penalty shoot-out than as it happens, right?

brightcove mark stanton video

Mark Stanton

But we’re no longer content with just watching the game live. We want more content: Interviews with the sports stars, behind the scenes videos of the team’s training session. It’s not just about the actual game itself, but what happens before and after as well that matters.

Take, for example, the recent Australian Open Tennis Champions 2016. Tennis Australia, the governing body, published behind-the-scenes content on its website and dedicated mobile app during the tournament and saw a whopping seven million video views during the two-week Open, a dramatic increase from previous years.

We can expect this hunger for additional content to continue to grow, especially in the lead-up to the 2016 Olympics, where sports takes over everyone’s life (or at least our TV sets and news outlets) for a few weeks.

Viewing habits have already changed immensely in the past decade. First, we saw the rise of mobile devices and social media, which brought with it the phenomenon of ‘second screening’. Broadcasters were now battling even harder for audiences’ full attention as one in three online Australians multi-tasked while watching TV according to research conducted earlier this year by Brightcove.

Then came over-the-top services. The entry of Netflix and Stan in the market meant broadcasters were no longer in control of what Australians watched on TV. There was now an unparalleled amount of choice for consumers, and broadcasters were feeling the pinch.

So to fight back, we saw free-to-air broadcasters launch their own on-demand services. In addition to the usual TV programs, broadcasters used the promise of extra content as a key drawcard to get additional viewers across, in a bid to remain competitive.

Now, it’s almost an expectation that there will be more content, especially in the sporting world. Australians are obsessed with every facet of sport. We want to know every single detail of a player, from their training regime to what they ate for lunch. And in today’s digital age, it’s as easy as using Google to find it. That’s why it’s so important that broadcasters include extra content to remain competitive.

Look at the upcoming 2016 Olympics.

The Australian Olympic Committee’s  website has become home to hundreds of behind-the-scenes training sessions and interviews with Olympics hopefuls. To address demand for extra content, it will this year produce more than 400 videos in the lead up to, during, and after the Olympics, and plans to send a dedicated video team to Rio. The AOC expects viewership to increase by more than 30 percent compared to the 2012 Games.

Our seemingly unlimited access to video content is changing the way we view content. We want more content, available anywhere, anytime, on any device.

There’s no doubt that we are a binge-watching culture and this trend will only continue as our demand for content continues to grow. Last year, mobile data traffic grew 74 per cent, with mobile video traffic accounting for 55 per cent, according to Cisco research. By 2020, however, this will increase 11-fold, with a predicted 75 per cent of the world’s mobile data traffic coming from video by 2020.

Broadcasters and content companies know this, and it’s why they are pushing hard to get more content. But only time will tell if it’s enough to satisfy our demand.

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