New study suggests sports content is best antidote to cord-cutting

Among consumers who have cut the pay-TV cord within the last two years but who express any interest in returning to pay-TV, two out of five (39%) say sports channels are a reason to return, according to new survey by Frank N. Magid Associates. Additionally, nine out of 10 (88%) sports fans say they watch sports on a television set, with broadcast networks leading the way at 73% of respondents, followed by cable sports networks (62%) and general entertainment networks (60%).

Nevertheless, a growing number of sports fans are watching sports on the internet: nearly two of five (37%) of all sports fans say they watch sports streamed online “often,” while nearly three in five (57%) fans say they watch sports online in any way at all. These consumers typically gravitate to available larger digital screens: computers led among 37% of respondents, followed by over-the-top (OTT) video delivery to a TV (26%), tablets (25%) and smartphones (25%).

These are among findings of a recently completed study by Frank N. Magid Associates for ONE World Sports, America’s Network for Global Sports. The survey was conducted during summer 2015 among 2,883 pay-TV and 317 broadband-only respondents across the country reflecting an expansive array of 18-to-64-year-old consumers.

“Sports remains the most DVR-proof form of video content,” said Alexander ‘Sandy’ Brown, President & CEO of ONE World Sports. “The excitement, immediacy and community around sports contests demand live viewing, whether that viewing takes place via an antenna, or a pay-TV provider, or via a live web stream. Whatever the format, the findings support that people want to watch sports live, and on the best – typically largest and most crisp – available screen.”

Added Brown, “the data about digital viewing is consistent with what we’re seeing throughout the television and digital-video industries. Digital video providers, whether they’re targeting their services for OTT delivery or mobile devices, are actively seeking sports content to feed their new services and attract consumers.”

Among general survey findings about cord-cutting:

+ Twenty-five percent of all broadband-only consumers cut their cords within the last two years – but more than half (51%) have been cord-cutters for more than five years, or ‘cord-nevers’ who have not subscribed to pay-TV;

+ Women are as likely as men to have cut the cord within the past two years, at 25% each;

+ Millennials (Adults 18-34) make up the majority (52%) of cord cutters over the past two years. Most (58%) of all cord cutting Millennials have cut the cord within the past three years.

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