SBD/July 2, 2014/Media

World Cup Leads ESPN To Break U.S. Record For Viewing Hours On Online Streams

ESPN's streaming numbers were positively affected by mid-day matches
ESPN's live streams prior to last night's Belgium-U.S. game had already "logged 30 million viewing hours during the 2014 World Cup, enough to make the tournament the most-streamed live sporting event" in U.S. history, according to Brian Stelter of CNN MONEY. For comparison, NBC said that the '12 London Games "generated 20.4 million viewing hours online." And 13.6 million "were live." The '14 Sochi Games "generated 10.8 million viewing hours, with about 80% of those live." There are "numerous reasons why the World Cup is bigger -- starting with the fact that live streaming is becoming more popular with each passing month as people get more comfortable with streaming apps, and companies make them easier to use." The fact that so many matches "are being played during working hours in the United States also has a lot to do with it." Last Thursday's Germany-U.S. match "actually strained some servers" (MONEY.CNN.com, 7/1).

GIF WRAPPED: In DC, Caitlin Dewey noted the Twitter account @ReplayLastGoal, which took moments from World Cup games and turned them into GIFs, "got slapped with an infringement complaint over the weekend." FIFA is, "of course, notoriously protective of its intellectual property." Logos "are one thing -- GIFs of gameplay are something else entirely." After all, a GIF "is fundamentally different from live footage of a game in a way that a copy/pasted logo is not." GIFs "have quickly become an Internet staple of every major sporting event the world over." Dewey: "Doesn’t that count for anything?!" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 7/1).

TWITTER TWEAKS: In N.Y., Goal & Isaac report during the World Cup, Twitter has "experimented with changing the user sign-up experience." Newcomers are "prompted to follow the Twitter accounts of players and teams participating in the matches." The idea with that is if new users can "easily follow Twitter discussions about the popular games, they will understand the value of the service and keep returning long after the last goal is scored." The campaign at the very least is "likely to pump up the company’s user numbers for the month of June." Analysts expect the World Cup to "generate more posts than any other event in the company’s history" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/2).
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FIFA World Cup, Media

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