- The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off today, June 14, and 65% of global consumers who have live streamed video content in the past plan to live stream soccer matches during the tournament, with a strong preference for mobile viewing, according to new research from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) provided to Marketing Dive. This compares to 71% of those surveyed who plan to watch the games live on linear TV.
- Just over half of viewers plan to watch recorded games online or on TV. Fans in Brazil, China, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S. show the strongest likelihood to live stream matches. More than two-thirds, or 67%, of global consumers have live streamed video content before, and 52% of those viewers prefer free, ad-supported live streaming over subscription and à la carte services, the IAB found. Smartphones were the most popular device for live streaming, followed by smart TVs.
- Among viewers who have live streamed video before, 64% have engaged with ads, like pre-roll video or sponsored ads. Viewers in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UAE were most likely to engage with ads. Remembering the brands advertised, clicking on ads and visiting brands' websites were the most common actions taken when ads were seen during a live stream. Ads in live streaming content were most often seen on social media, gaming websites or on apps.
As live streaming grows, the IAB research points to the opportunity for brand building among viewers. Large events like the World Cup are likely to further drive adoption of live streaming and could attract brands interested in reaching these audiences. However, brands should proceed carefully, as many viewers prefer ad-free streaming.
The IAB research reinforces sports fans' growing preference for watching content on their own terms, which often means using multiple devices at once to search for player stats and other information during games, post-game highlights or player interviews. It's not surprising that a high percentage of U.S. and South American viewers plan to live stream World Cup games. Since the tournament is being hosted in Russia, the time difference means that many games have early-morning air times, when fans may be at work or commuting.
In recognition of these trends, more sports leagues are partnering with social and digital media platforms on content partnerships or creating their own live streaming apps, especially as sports viewership on linear TV continues to decline. Amazon earlier this month signed a deal with the Premier League to stream soccer matches to U.K. subscribers of its Prime service. The news marked the first time the Premiere League had signed a live streaming deal, according to the Guardian. Amazon has also streamed 10 regular season NFL football games for the past two years on Prime. Facebook is also streaming MLB games this season, and earlier this year, the NBA began testing a streaming service that gave fans access to the fourth quarter of games for 99 cents.
Ninety-five percent of surveyed marketers report that live streaming will be an important part of their strategies this year, according to a recent study by Brandlive and IBM Cloud Video. The IAB research suggests live video can drive engagement by encouraging viewers to click on ads, visit websites and better recall brands.