The problem facing Rogers Communications Inc. and other major companies that paid billions of dollars for the right to broadcast a sports league’s games is not just chasing revenue across different platforms. An equal if not more vexing issue is that today’s young people simply do not watch games the way their parents do.
Not only do viewers in their teens and 20s tend to watch games online and on mobile devices; many of them rarely sit and watch an entire game. Raised in the Internet era of multitasking, they will often stop watching a game and catch up later by watching highlights or video clips of unusual plays on YouTube, Twitter, Vine or other applications.
It is a trend that Kaan Yigit, president of Solutions Research Group (SRG), noticed in his own home as well as in the viewership surveys he does for his business.
“My son is 13, and in the middle of a big game, he’ll say, ‘I’m going to bed,’” Yigit said. “‘What do you mean you’re going to bed?’ And he’ll say, ‘I’ll just watch the top 10 plays tomorrow.’ Literally, in five minutes, he’ll see the top 10 dunks, whatever.
“When we did the research [last] December, all the TV numbers compared to the year before, this is everybody, not just millennials. Fewer people are reporting watching stuff on TV.”
SRG’s survey showed that most millennials (people aged 15 to 34) do not follow the NHL on television – 33 per cent watch hockey online or on mobile devices or social media versus 31 per cent who still watch games on TV. Their parents, generally baby boomers, remain loyal to television, with 56 per cent using that medium, compared with 18 per cent using the other platforms.
The median age of NHL television watchers in Canada, SRG discovered, is 47 while it is 36 for those who watch online or on social media.
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