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World Cup Setting Multiscreen Records

18 Jun, 2014 By: Chris Tribbey

This year’s FIFA World Cup is already proving to be the most accessible in the tournament's history, thanks to a bevvy of apps and second-screen streaming options, according to a new study.

World Cup broadcasters are getting the games to nearly 6 billion screens and 4.7 billion connected devices worldwide, according to a study from research firm Ovum, and the second screen is proving more popular than TV, with PCs, tablets and smartphones accounting for 57% of all screens being used to watch the tournament.

"Devices capable of streaming live and on-demand video — of which there are now 4.7 billion — are providing additional viewing opportunities outside the appointment viewing taking place in people's living rooms,” said Ted Hall, senior analyst for Ovum. “Having set consumer expectations for TV Everywhere [apps], providers must now deliver on the promise of their offerings, as failure to do so can result in bad press and, more importantly, frustrated fans.

“While viewing live events online is improving, there is some way to go before it can compare with the reliability traditional TV distribution offers for the largest audiences.”

ESPN — which is broadcasting the World Cup along with sister network ABC (Fox takes over FIFA broadcast rights after the 2014 tournament) — is already reporting audience records across its TV and digital platforms through the first week of the games.

Four of the first seven games televised on ESPN or ESPN2 were the networks’ most viewed group-play games ever, at least among those not involving a United States team (212 games since 1994).

ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC combined to average 3.74 million viewers for the first 11 matches, a 2% viewer increase over the 2010 World Cup. Perhaps most importantly, the WatchESPN TV Everywhere app averaged 209,000 viewers across the first 11 World Cup matches. The SportsCenter app is averaging 4.2 million daily unique visitors, a 447% increase from 2010.

“In addition to setting usage records, WatchESPN has posted a 157% increase in viewers and 170% in minutes through the first 11 games, averaging 643,000 viewers and 27,100,000 minutes viewed per match,” ESPN said in a statement.

ESPNFC.com has averaged 3.7 million daily unique visitors, an 18% increase over 2010, and 3.2 million video starts per day, a 754% increase. ESPN.com is averaging 12.6 million daily unique visitors, a 32% increase from 2010, and 11 million video starts per day (up 140%).

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