According to the research, 63% of sports watchers say they’d hesitate to sign up or re-subscribe to a live streaming service, as 72% expect the stream to lag behind traditional broadcast; 64% expect buffering, 42% expect delays, 32% expect poor picture quality, and 30% expect service outages.
Although the research is carried out with US sports fans, this is bad news for ventures such as Discovery Communication’s Eurosport Player, which tries to lure sport fans to subscribe to its OTT live streaming sports service.
“The fundamental shift from traditional sports broadcasts to one fueled by new platforms, social media and mobile-first, multi-screen strategies won’t be complete until the industry figures out how to overcome one major flaw – managing a latency-free, real-time stream at scale,” said Jed Corenthal, CMO of Phenix.
“The live streaming experience is broken, particularly in the sporting arena, where latency issues abound. The industry must address the frustrating issues, such as buffering, delays, poor picture quality, loss of service, etc. plaguing everyone’s experience, from the NFL to UFC.
“In our Sports Report, it was obvious consumers understand they’re paying for services that don’t always meet their expectations. In fact, nearly three-quarters of sports viewers expect there will be an issue during their sports live stream! It’s understandable then that 63 percent don’t plan on signing up for a streaming sports service in 2018 and more than one in three (34 percent) would think about cancelling a service that was giving them an issue.
“At the end of the day, this signals the potential for a genuine bottom line impact on the companies and organizations looking to capitalize on the future of streaming sports. Correcting course means implementing end-to-end technology that provides an optimal, true real-time streaming experience that works at scale. Otherwise, these issues will continue to wreak havoc on the industry and impact revenue for platforms that rely on such a passionate user base like the sports fan.
“The upside we found was that if this main challenge can be overcome, there is incredible opportunity to offer more than just real-time streams to the customer. More than one in three want to simultaneously gain insights into player stats and information, and stream more than one game on different devices, respectively. If latency at broadcast scale is resolved, the streaming experience will be bigger and better than we could have imagined.”