Eight Things to Think About on World Television Day

Today is World Television Day. I know there’s a ‘Day’ these days for pretty much everything but with TV still being the primary means of engagement with sport for fans and the less committed audiences that are drawn still to the biggest occasion we thought it would be worthwhile to mark the day with eight things you might find of interest around the changing nature of sports broadcasting…

1. The big numbers are still there for the big occasion

1.7 million people tuned in to see some or all of the Republic of Ireland’s defeat to Denmark last week. If it’s on the big box that’s what really fires up the national conversation and drags all other media, social or mainstream in its wake.

2. The smaller matches are muscling in

This time of the year the GAA action moves from the Inter-County scene of the Allianz Leagues and the All Ireland Championships towards the much more local side of the AIB Club Championships.

eir Sport signed up to coverage of up to 30 Live games this season, in addition to those broadcast on TG4.

3. Live Streaming is better than you’d think

There was no live TV coverage of Ireland’s U18 Basketballers as they worked their way through to the Final of the European Championships in Dublin this year. The European Basketball authorities, however, have long ago grasped the benefit of live streaming matches on their own channels and the HD broadcast quality of the games from the National Basketball Arena this August was stunning.

4. Get ready to look harder

The ‘atomisation’ of rights means you can no longer rely on page one of the programme guide to see whether the event you want to watch is being covered live. In fact, it may well not be on the programme guide at all. Next year 37 ATP tennis events including the US Open will be exclusive to Amazon Prime. Yes, that’s another subscription to add to the list for full coverage.

5. TV3 for the Nat West Six Nations

Last year’s tournament was the last, for the time being at least, to be broadcast on RTÉ. TV3 have plenty of big game experience from the last World Cup, just be careful to make sure you have the right channel selected to record if you happen to be at the game or involved in other sporting activities come February.

6. The GAA as a Broadcaster

The GAA signed up to a five-year media rights deal earlier this year, working with RTÉ and Sky Sports to promote the games in Ireland and as part of GAAGo with RTÉ in terms of looking further afield.

In advance of the All Ireland Hurling and Football Finals though they took a small step further into the world of self-broadcasting through two well produced and well-watched facebook Live programmes.

7. Sport is king when it comes to short-form content

When we spoke to Mark Doyle of AIB last month about the success of the mini-documentary series on Chris and Kammy’s Road to Croke he told us that the engagement levels for sports marketing content, as opposed to any other, were ‘off the charts’.

With over 15 million such engagements and rising in 2017, sport continues to provide some return on investment.

8. The size of the screen doesn’t matter

In advance of the World Cup there will be a massive rush towards getting us to buy the latest, biggest, flattest screens there are. But the reality is this may be the last such tournament where that will be the case. Walls are only so big in houses and apartments and with a steady and accelerating trend to consumption of media on mobile phones as opposed to sitting down in front of the big box, things are changing.

That doesn’t mean the distributors, the channels and the brands that were king in 1990 or 2010 will disappear but they will need to continually adapt and change.

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