Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Well, duh. Survey says: fans turning to the internet to get latest sports news

From the “We could have told you that” Department.

The online study, conducted in September among self-identified sports fans aged 18 or older, revealed that content websites are chipping away at television's lead as the best source of sports-related information: more than one-third (35.4%) overall say sports sites are best; slightly more (41.3%) say TV is best. And among self-identified devoted sports fans (i.e., those who "love to stay updated as frequently as possible"), sports content sites beat TV as the best source by a notable margin: 45.1% vs. 35.5%.

"Whether it's consuming original sports content online, sharing likes and tweets with friends, or using a tablet to follow the score, sports enthusiasts have many options to access content," said Mark Kaefer, marketing director, Burst Media. "And with digital media becoming an increasingly significant part of the total sports fan experience, online publishers and advertisers now have access to a much wider set of platforms and tactics to use to engage audiences."

Overall, 35.1% of all sports fans—including two-in-three (66.8%) devoted fans—go online at least once per day for sports-related reasons such as to check scores, read sports news, watch sports videos or play fantasy sports games. Nearly one-third (30.4%) of all sports fans say most of their time online is spent reading content versus watching online video. However, among 18-34 year-old respondents, 22.0% say their time is split between reading content and watching online video—a figure that is double the number of sports fans aged 35 years or older who engage in both activities (10.1%).

Pretty interesting demographics are presented here, so be sure and read the whole release from Sys-con.

What’s most interesting to me is that the demographics and survey results show why the print media is a mortally ill industry. While a plurality of important consumer groups are still turning on the TV for the latest in sports news and commentary, a significant (and growing) segment are tuning out and jacking in. What they’re not doing is trudging down the front walk to pick up the paper for the latest information.

Newspapers don’t deliver news anymore.

At least part of the reason why this trend began is that for decades, the major dailies and periodicals (that’s a magazine if you hail from Lee County) told readers what they wanted to know and how they wanted to know it. They tolerated letters to the editor as feedback, publishing only those that didn’t rake them over the coals for not giving consumers what they wanted.

On occasion, the curmudgeonly senior editor would trot out a 900-word column, scolding readers for daring to tell these professional journalists how to do their jobs. That wasn’t just true in sports. It was true in current affairs and politics, too.

Along comes a medium that allows consumers to get the information they want and interact with the content providers in real-time, and it’s game over. Again, it’s the same for other news topics as well.

This blog started out as a politics and current affairs site that was going to feature just a little college sports content. That all changed when major sports stories got coverage here. Traffic data showed that sports fans were hungrier than policy wonks.

I changed the format and ker-pow went the traffic, reach, influence and following.

The difference between content sites like this one and both broadcast and print media: It’s much easier to reformat a website than it is to retool a printing press or reorient a network news desk, but listening to your audience is always a recipe for success.

So what changes can we expect going forward? That depends on you. How would you like to get coordinated online and over-the-air coverage from content sites affiliated with broadcast partners? Read it online, hear about it on talk radio, interact with the content providers in both media and buzz it up in social networks. That sounds powerful, doesn’t it?

It does because it empowers you. You’re the consumer and like the old grocery store owner I first worked for once told me: “The customer is never wrong.”

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.


pete4tide said...

I really enjoy the morning sixpack - it's more like a Drudge Report-type format, and there is just not another site that picks up on multiple sports stories, presents them in links and quotes, and then comments on them. Not ESPN, not Yahoo, not any of them. This is a format that is not tapped adequately, and I applaud your foresight in presenting us with stories in this way.

GulfCoastBamaFan said...

Glad you're enjoying it, Pete. Feel free to share the links with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or any other site or medium you frequent.

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