Sports the best bet to fend off cord-cutting


Joseph O'Halloran

| 25 September 2015

For pay-TV providers pummelled by over-the-top (OTT) services, all is not lost: it would seem that all they need is a compelling sports package.

Indeed, in a Frank N Magid Associates' survey for ONE World Sports, of those who within the last two years have cut the cord to go OTT for TV but who harbour interest in returning to pay-TV, almost two-fifths cite sports channels as their reason to return.

The survey found that a quarter of all broadband-only consumers cut the cord within the last two years – but more than half (51%) have been cord-cutters for more than five years, or cord-nevers who have never subscribed to pay-TV pay-TV. Not surprisingly millennials, adults aged 18-34, made up the majority (52%) of cord-cutters over the past two years, with 58% of all cord-cutters within the demographic having done so within the past three years. Yet almost half of recent cord-cutters said they would be attracted back to watch a network like ONE World Sports.

The survey also found that even though almost nine-tenths of sports fans say they watch sports on a television set — with broadcast networks leading the way with 73% of respondents, followed by cable sports networks (62%) and general entertainment networks (60%) — a growing number are going online. Magid revealed that almost two-fifths of all sports fans say they often watch sports streamed online, while nearly three-fifths say they watch sports online in some way. These consumers typically gravitate to available larger digital screens: computers led among 37% of respondents, followed by OTT video delivery to a TV (26%), tablet (25%) and smartphone (25%).

"Sports remains the most DVR-proof form of video content," said ONE World Sports president & CEO Alexander Brown. "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 ... people want to watch sports live, and on the best – typically largest and most crisp – available screen ... 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. Since the majority of cord-cutters are millennials, this response supports our view that younger Americans are not only increasingly multicultural, but are ready to embrace global TV content such as sports from around the world."