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Game On! Live Sport Dominates Aussie TV Viewing over the past 15 years

2 minute read | Maria Rossi, General Manager, TV Audience Measurement | August 2016

When it comes to sport, Australia is a nation of avid armchair spectators. And, our obsession with sport translates into our TV viewing habits. Over the past 15 years, live sport has dominated our highest ranked programs on free-to-air TV.

OzTAM data that ranked the top most watched programs on Australian metro TV in 2001, 2005, 2010 and 2015, shows that 16 of the top 20 TV programs were live sport.

Whether it be ‘footy’ (AFL and Rugby League), cricket, tennis or the race that stops the nation – The Melbourne Cup –  our culture is characterised and united by our love of sport. According to Nielsen’s Consumer & Media View insights, in the past 12 months, over 10 million Aussies watched sport on TV.

Nielsen Social Content Ratings shows that seven out of the top ten most Tweeted episodes in 2015 were live sport, with multiple events such as the Cricket World Cup picking up over 100,000 related Tweets. And, close to 1 in every 2 Tweets sent about television was about sport-related content.

Twitter fans that joined the conversation for live grandstand sport events were also more likely than average to engage with the advertisers. For example, close to 90% of Authors who tweeted about the Super Bowl (2015) also talked about the brands advertised.

As digital media continues its rapid rise, consumers are now in a position to complement their sports viewing on TV and shape their own sport engagement experience. Viewers can choose to watch sport content via live linear programming, video on-demand, or through subscription services and apps.

However, as anyone who has unsuccessfully tried to avoid hearing the scores of last night’s game so they can watch a recorded version later will tell you, sport is always better when watched live. Big, iconic games and matches are still enjoyed by millions of Australians, live and on the big screen, with friends and family.

According to OzTAM’s TV data from quarter 2, 2016, 95% of total sports viewing happened live. In comparison, 79% of general drama viewers watched live.

Sport presents a great opportunity for advertisers and TV networks. Amongst those who watch sport on TV, more than two-thirds say they notice a form of sponsorship. Live sport is the perfect way for marketers to attract the attention of a massive audience, while multiple live-time engagement opportunities provide them a way to connect with their core consumers.

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