SBJ/June 17-23, 2013/Media

Second-screen usage overstated?

A new study suggests that the usage of second screens while watching live sports has been overstated.

Just 4 percent of U.S. sports fans are using Internet-connected devices to follow live sports that they’re also watching on TV, according to new research from Sporting News Media.

The Global Sports Media Consumption Report, produced with European sports and entertainment outlets Kantar Media and TV Sports Markets, represents the second annual look at the U.S. sports market. It was part of an overall effort that in February surveyed 1,000 people in each of 14 countries.

Seven percent of American consumers are using Internet-connected TVs to consume sports content, up from 5 percent a year ago. Eleven percent of fans said they would be willing to pay for live sports online, down from 15 percent a year ago. And just 4 percent of fans believe second-screen concurrent usage will have the biggest effect on how sports is consumed in the next two years.

“A lot of what’s in this study validates the power of live sports on television, as you would certainly expect. But it also shows that a digital strategy that simply piggybacks on TV is not necessarily where the mainstream consumer is,” said Jeff Price, Sporting News Media president.

“There’s sometimes a disconnect between the hype of certain things and the reality, and these results show a digital strategy should exist on its own merits,” Price said.

Since conducting last year’s market study, digital sports outlet Perform has created the Sporting News Media joint venture with American City Business Journals, parent company of SportsBusiness Journal. Once again, the results will be distributed to the company’s clients and business partners.

Among the other findings in the study: 77 percent of fans attuned to social networking follow sports on Facebook, 47 percent of those fans use YouTube to follow sports, and 33 percent Twitter.

“There’s a good story here for both Facebook and Twitter with a lot of opportunity going forward,” Price said. “But again, it’s the same sort of thing in terms of where the mainstream fan actually is. Twitter has been on a big rise of late, but it’s still Facebook where you see the greatest scale in social.”

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