Advanced Television

Research: Olympics to spark US streaming boom

May 15, 2024

One in four American subscribers (29 per cent) will sign up to a new streaming service to watch the Olympic Games this July. For those who already pay for at least one ‘SportsVoD’ streaming platform, this figure jumps to a massive 66 per cent.

That’s according to the latest research from subscription Super Bundling provider Bango, released in its new Going for Gold report.

The research, which calls on data from 2,000 SportsVoD subscription users and 3,000 general subscribers, could be good news for NBCUniversal’s Peacock platform, which secured the rights to stream the Paris Olympic Games.

But it’s not just Peacock that will benefit, Bango’s report also points to a booming SportsVoD sector across the USA.

Not only do SportsVoD subscribers typically adopt more subscriptions — seven per person compared to a US average of five — they’re also willing to pay significantly more for those services.

According to Bango’s analysis, the average SportsVoD subscriber pays a massive $1,440 (€1,334) per year for all of their subscription services — $120 per month. In contrast, the average US subscriber pays just $77 per month (66 per cent less).

Despite this high market value however, Bango’s analysis also points to challenges in the booming sports streaming space. According to the report, a combination of diverse broadcasting rights, disjointed platforms, and rising prices is driving demand for more centralised streaming services.

Over half of SportsVoD subscribers say they can’t afford all the subscriptions they want, while 73 per cent agree that there are simply too many different subscription services needed to cover the sports they’re interested in.

Given this fragmentation, 87 per cent of those paying for SportsVoD subscriptions are calling for a single ‘content hub’ to centralise all of their sports subscriptions (and more) into one place. Without this sort of all-in-one solution, 55 per cent of sports streamers admit to using pirate streaming services to access all of their favourite content in one place.

According to Paul Larbey, CEO at Bango, when half of all sports fans admit to online piracy, you know something’s gone wrong. “Clearly there’s a huge demand for sports streaming, but the current lack of centralisation is undermining this incredibly valuable market,” he adds.

“This fragmentation means that new alliances are forming among competitors. The combined effort by ESPN, Fox, and WB Discovery to build a single sports streaming platform is just one example, but we predict other collaborations will continue to define this space.”

In terms of what this collaboration could look like, Bango’s report points to the rise of Super Bundling, with a growing number of sports fans combining different sports packages through a third-party such as their wireless or cell phone provider. In fact, Bango’s research shows that 70 per cent of SportsVoD subscribers want their cell phone provider to offer an all-in-one subscription platform. Three quarters (76 per cent) even say they’d pay a higher monthly bill if this service was included.

“Sports fans want choice,” notes Larbey. “They are willing to pay to watch the content they are interested in, and the reality is that this content will come from different providers. As a result, sports fans want to simplify this arrangement through easy billing and control of subscriptions. And they want flexibility and the ability to build their own bundles.”

“Super Bundling finally brings that level of flexibility to the sports industry by collating disjointed services into one singular platform. Already, Verizon is bringing multiple SportsVoD services under one roof, including the NBA and NFL+, as well as sporting news subscriptions like The Athletic. This approach puts the subscriber first, creating the opportunity for people to mix and match. That’s good news for sports fans and will bring more paid subscribers to the sports broadcasting industry as a whole,” he concludes.

Categories: Articles, Broadcast, Consumer Behaviour, Content, Markets, OTT, OTT, Piracy, Premium, Research, Rights, VOD

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