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35% of Millennials watching Super Bowl on Smart TV

With more than one in three consumers watching live sports on a device other than a traditional television set, Super Bowl 50 is likely to see some major shifts in how consumers watch the big game, according to new analysis by Adobe Digital Index (ADI).

ADI’s survey of more than 400 US consumers found Millennials leading this shift in consumption, with 50 per cent watching sports content on smart TVs, mobile devices, PCs, or gaming consoles. For the Super Bowl specifically, 35 per cent of Millennials said they plan to watch via a connected TV, and more than 25 per cent said they are very likely to download an app to watch.

“TV viewership is becoming multiscreen,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst at ADI. “We are entering a new frontier for online video, where viewing is led by mobile and growth in TV Everywhere.”

According to ADI’s analysis (separate from the survey) of 36 billion TV Everywhere authentications, active users of TV Everywhere increased 22 per cent quarter over quarter in Q4 2015, a time during which all major sports are active (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NCAA football). Sports-specific viewing for TV Everywhere is up 80 per cent year over year, and, in 2015, more than one in three online video starts for special sporting events, such as the Super Bowl, were on mobile devices.

With mobile becoming such a prevalent mode of content consumption, CBS announced a $5 million price tag for a 30-second spot—but there’s a catch: For the first time, Super Bowl ads airing on TV will also stream online and on mobile at the same time. According to Gaffney, this ‘packaged deal’ is indicative of where advertising selling and buying is headed.

“While consumer eyeballs are quickly turning to mobile, media companies have struggled with monetising the channel,” Gaffney said. “2015 TV and Web/mobile ads were sold separately, and, in 2016, they will be combined. I think we’ll see more publishers and media brands, in general, selling advertising this way.”

Besides using their devices to watch the big game, many consumers will be using their phones while they watch the game on some other screen. This is where Millennials lead the generational pack for Web surfing and unrelated social media viewing while watching sports.

On the other hand, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers tend to be more concerned about work during the Super Bowl, with one in three checking email. Women are nearly two times as likely to share their thoughts about the game on social as are men.

With all the second-screen viewing going on during the game, marketers must think beyond television ads. Millennials, ADI’s study found, are 58 per cent more likely to watch an ad on social channels before the game. Facebook leads YouTube as the most-used channel for Super Bowl ads beyond TV. Additionally, Millennials are most likely to visit an advertiser’s site during the game.

So are Super Bowl ads worth the investment? Thirty-six per cent of Gen Xers said this year’s Super Bowl ads will affect their purchase decisions, while 30 per cent of Millennials and 27 per cent of Baby Boomers said the same.

Top ads that ADI measured last year had an average length of stay on social media of 25 days before brand mentions fell below the previous daily average. P&G led the way last year with more than 60 days.

“A coordinated, multiscreen launch event is critical this year,” Gaffney said. “This means a complete shift in the way advertising is bought and sold, which will lead to reorganisations within the marketing department. You can’t buy advertising in this multiscreen way if you’re not structured to think like that. Super Bowl 50 will be a tipping point for the advertising industry.”

Millennials—who surpassed Baby Boomers in the workforce in 2015—are shaping the future of content consumption. For sports specifically, Millennials are 30 per cent less likely to watch a live sporting event on traditional TV.

“It’ll be interesting to see what the future will look like as Millennials and Generation Z become the majority of the consumer base,” Gaffney said. “What will Super Bowl look like 15 years from now? Digital channels will definitely take over. We’re getting really close to the pinnacle of mass advertising with indiscriminate marketing coming to an end. More advertisers will be able to advertise for the Super Bowl, and it’ll mean fewer marketing moments for marketers.”

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