Europeans express preference for ad-supported sports streamers

A quarter of European sports fans would prefer an ad-supported platform over pay-per-view and subscription options.

A new report from Rakuten Advertising found that 26% of Europeans would put an ad-supported VOD service over other media as a means of watching sport if it meant they wouldn’t have to pay a subscription fee.

Of the 4,500 adults surveyed, 32% said that they had been missing sport during the lockdown. That figure rises to 42% in the UK, with the English Premier League derailed by the coronavirus pandemic as it approached the final stretch of the season. Brits also missed out on the Six Nations, which was indefinitely postponed.

While a recent report found that an alarming number of viewers watch sport via illegal streams, this new study found that 41% believe it is unlikely or very unlikely that they would continue the habit should the content be made more readily available.

The survey will make positive reading for platform operators, with 60% of respondents saying they would be likely to sign up for an AVOD service when it was described to them. Some 37% of respondents said that they are aware of such offerings. Of existing AVOD users, 74% said that they believe their use of platforms like Pluto TV will remain at the current level established during the lockdown.

Anthony Capano, managing director for Rakuten Advertising’s international division, said: “Offering alternative VOD models is key to meeting these consumer demands and responding to changing viewing habits. Consumers want access to more entertainment and research suggests they are happy to watch ads in return for it.

“During this lockdown period it is crucial for brands to continue advertising and stay connected to their customers in ways that resonate. 41 per cent of consumers in the UK want brands to communicate with them in a realistic fashion during this time of uncertainty, and 39 per cent believe brands that emotionally understand people will succeed post pandemic. AVOD can associate brands with enjoyable content that is helping people escape today’s challenges.”

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