Wednesday, 10 October 2012

It’s Official: Sport is Social

The British public is embracing second screening as part of their everyday viewing habits. According to Sky, 75% of people now watch TV with a second connected device in hand. During the Olympics, over 150 million tweets were posted, making it one of the most talked-about events ever on Twitter. It confirms that big sporting events trail only breaking national news for stimulating social networking.

Now, social networking sites are not only being used to discuss programming, but to choose what to watch too. 24% of 18 to 24 year-olds use Facebook and 9% use Twitter to find something to watch on TV. Remarkably, over one in ten of us are now turning on TVs because of what we’ve seen on social media.

According to Broadband TV News, BBC’s iPlayer received a record 196 million views over the Olympics, with almost a fifth coming from mobile and tablet devices. This, along with the Ryder Cup, has given sport 30% of the online viewing market.

Sport is reacting to this too. The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the world’s fastest growing sport, and this could well be down to social media and second screening. For example, Head of UFC’s parent company, Dana White, has over 2.2 million followers, and before the main fight, on pay-per-view, supporting events are shown live on Facebook. Sport has always engendered debate, something which second screening and social media can only help to grow. In the weird and wacky world of professional wrestling, WWE recently acquired social networking site Tout, and now regularly uses content from Tout in its broadcast programming.

All of this means sports fans and content providers are using multiple platforms to source, consume, and enjoy more entertainment at once. In this regard, sports content is ahead of the market, but it will surely only be a matter of time before other content providers start to integrate further in this way.

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