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The World Cup has always been a big deal in the UK. Even when the home nations have been absent, or else performing particularly badly, viewers have tuned into the action en masse. At the last World Cup in South Africa in 2010, almost 16 million people watched the BBC’s coverage of England getting badly beaten by Germany. And this year is unlikely to be any different—either the result or the viewership numbers—though, of course, more viewing options will be open to UK fans than ever before. In particular, smartphones look set to play a major role—both in the UK and worldwide.
One particular trend among UK smartphone users offers food for thought for anyone involved in the paid-for video content space. According to May 2014 research by On Device Research for the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), more smartphone-toting World Cup followers in the UK were willing to pay for World Cup video content than in any other country polled—80%, vs. just 59% of respondents in France, for example.
While digital video services have been gaining traction in the UK, there has always been some frustration regarding the clear lack of deep catalogs of content on paid-for service platforms, such as Netflix and Amazon LOVEFiLM Instant—at least compared with comparable platforms in the US. But if there were concerns about UK consumers’ willingness to pay for such video content, this IAB data strongly suggests that demand is there for the right content. Build that content, and they will come.
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