The quality of any given sporting contest is dependent on so many variables that it can be hard to predict. Consumers are much more willing to bet that livestreaming those games will be bad.
According to a YouGov study commissioned by Phenix, a video streaming solutions company, 72% of consumers who watch sports on TV have come to expect bad service during livestreamed games. Furthermore, 63% of sports watchers are reluctant to sign up or resubscribe to sports livestreaming platforms in 2018, and 34% are thinking about canceling the service.
Latency seems to be the primary problem consumers notice with livestreaming. About 64% expect buffering, 42% expect delays, 32% expect poor picture quality and 30% expect loss of service.
“Sports is always going to need to be watched in real-time, but outside traditional broadcast mediums, the industry is still unable to offer it at scale, as evident by recent issues during livestreams of major sporting events,” said Jed Corenthal, chief marketing officer of Phenix, in a statement.
Service providers and sports programmers are well aware of issues with livestreaming, particularly with how it tends to buckle under heavy demand.
This year, DirecTV Now and HBO both experienced livestreaming outages during the premiere of “Game of Thrones,” and Dish Network’s Sling TV has dealt with livestreaming issues during major sporting events like NCAA March Madness.
At this year’s Streaming Media East conference, Clark Pierce, senior vice president of TV Everywhere for Fox Sports Go, said online video still has a ways to go to catch up to broadcast in terms of latency.
“We are acutely in touch with users and latency is the No. 1 complaint,” said Pierce, adding that social media monitoring is making the gap even more glaring.
To get its figures, Phenix had YouGov interview 2,309 adults between Oct. 12 and Oct. 16 of this year and then weighted the results to be representative of all U.S. adults aged 18 and older.