World Cup Goes Digital This Year
According to a fresh survey completed by PC World, nearly a third of all British World Cup viewers will be watching this year's big series via the Internet, on a computer or smartphone, rather than more traditional television viewing. Of the 30 percent of viewers that plan on catching games on the Internet, 10 percent will watch via smartphone and nearly a quarter will watch via desktop or laptop. The numbers break down to about 14 million rabid British soccer fans drinking warm pints and watching football over the Internet throughout the Cup.
It's a good thing they performed this survey in Britain, because if they'd performed it here (U.S.), the most popular answer would likely have been: "I'm not a hockey fan."
According to the research, the 30 percent figure represents the most of any World Cup. That's hardly a surprise given how far technology has come in four years (the iPhone launched in 2007, for instance). Internet has become a legitimate means of viewing content and provides more flexibility and portability than ever before.
Jeremy Fennell, Category Director, PC World offered much the same: "Internet TV was only just coming into play when England last played in a World Cup tournament. Now, in just four years, football fans are able to watch live and recorded footage from laptops, desktop PCs and mobile phones from just about any location in the UK and across the world."
Demand for related devices like Slingboxes and other media streamers has spiked over the last couple weeks. Wi-Fi equipment also experienced a considerable jump.
I don't see this trend stopping anytime soon and with new technologies like Google TV, and a similar Apple product on the horizon, I wouldn't be surprised if the number jumps to 50 percent or more by the next World Cup. Again, four years is a long, long time in technology.
It will also be interesting to see how many (if any) viewers are watching the 2014 World Cup in 3D. ESPN 3D launched last week for the beginning of World Cup, and 3D technology, which is launching piece by piece this year, will either succeed or fail over the next couple of years. Will it even be around by next World Cup? Will it be as common as HDTV is today?