Olympics to boost online sports viewing

Over half of consumers plan to watch sport online during the 2012 Olympics, equalling terrestrial and satellite TV viewers, according to a report released by Level 3 Communications.

The poll of 2,000 consumers found that 58% planned to view sports online during the event compared to 49% who watch sport online today.

This number increased dramatically in the 18 to 24 age group with 95% saying that they will watch sports online during the Olympics compared to the 79% who already watch sports online.

Connected devices like smartphones (15.8%) and tablets (14.4%) made up over 30% of responses on which technologies have the biggest impact on sport viewing, with interactive services cited by a further 15.6% of respondents.

The report suggests that the Olympics could be seen as a catalyst, pushing online sports viewing into the majority. But it questioned whether the UK’s broadband infrastructure can cope, particularly given that multi-screen consumption is driving consumers to view content on several mediums, placing extra pressure on network and bandwidth requirements.

“The problem is that the internet was designed for an equal amount of traffic being requested by users and delivered to them, but today’s traffic is 100:1 downstream to the users. It appears that we need a philosophical change in the economics of the internet and the technology behind it. ‘All-you-can-eat’ services may need to be scaled back as companies charge for services and invest in necessary infrastructure.”

Level 3 encouraged broader use of CDNs as a solution to this problem.

The study was conducted in May 2012 to ascertain trends in viewing broadcast sport. Interviews were conducted online by Redshift Research between May and June 2012, using email invitations and an online survey, and the findings were presented to broadcasting specialists.