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YouTube Now More Popular Than Facebook for Sports Highlights

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For 75 million sports video highlights consumers in the U.S., YouTube is the most popular social app for viewing highlights. Ring Digital’s Fall 2020 #FutureOfTV Survey shows 53% used it on a regular basis vs. only 45% using Facebook, a dramatic shift from a 2017 survey.

The August 2020 survey of 1,400 sports video highlights viewers represents a decline of eighteen points for Facebook from June 2017, when Facebook was the most popular app for highlights, used by 63% of respondents. YouTube saw a ten-point rise in the same period, from 43% previously. 

"This data shows that social media is still King for sports videos highlights. But the popular destinations have shifted dramatically. YouTube and Instagram rose, Facebook declined," said Brian Ring, Principal Analyst of Ring Digital llc and producer of the FutureOfTV.Live series of research reports and live webinars on changing media behaviors.

The survey also probed the "go-to" app category for sports highlights. Social media gathered steam as the number one destination selected by 44% of respondents. This was a gain of ten points over 2017. TV Network Apps gained four points to 28%.

"The good news for the TV ecosystem is that the TV networks are still in the game, at least, to monetize premium sports highlights. League apps have lost ground. Rights holders concerned about re-balancing the dominance and economics of Social Media will see this data as a call-to-action to re-balance content strategies."

Indeed, at a recent SportsPro Media conference, VP Pete Scott of Turner Sports suggested that "video highlights will be more valuable than live rights" as the industry adapts. Our report estimates the U.S. total addressable market for direct-to-consumer monetization of sports highlights is worth $2.7 to $4.5 billion.

"Only a few companies have seized upon the opportunity to build super-premium, personalized highlights experiences. The window is still open, but it will not remain so forever," Ring said.

Ring Digital llc surveys are independently authored and executed. Hands-off financial support for this edition was provided by Levels Beyond, makers of the Reach Engine workflow automation and dynamic media orchestration platform.

Art Raymond, Founder and Chief Customer Officer of Levels Beyond said, "This data is insightful for our sports, media and corporate studio customers. It shows how critical it is to build a robust content strategy, not just for social media but for owned-and-operated digital services. YouTube and Facebook are still important, but now so is Instagram and TikTok, Reddit and Twitter. TikTok didn’t even exist in 2017. But you need to tailor content to each platform. For example, the data shows that TikTok skews female, whereas Reddit skews male. This is why customers are investing in new hybrid cloud video creation workflows. They need high volume, rapid turn-around content, and different versions for every platform. That’s the rocket fuel for personalization downstream."

Other data in the report includes:

  • 24% of these fans want to watch funny, unusual moments in games, up four points.
  • 27% of these fans want highlights & replays of exciting game action, down ten points.
  • 33% want augmented reality (AR) overlay features
  • 53% want advanced video UX similar to Intel’s new True View video format
  • U.S. HH penetration estimate of 4K TV sets

Full data cited with sample size, source, date and MoE. Download the survey at https://www.RingDigital.tv/ReachEngine

[Editor's Note: This is a lightly edited press release.]

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