Newly-released data shows that streaming significantly boosts ESPN’s audience size. This will be important ammunition for the sports network as it attempts to keep advertising rates high in the face of its declining cable subscriptions. We’ve broken things down to make the numbers clearer for people outside the ad industry.
ESPN by the Numbers
The release starts with a look at results for the twelve months ending November 12:
- ESPN’s Millennial viewership at any point during the day increased by 23% when in-home and out-of-home streaming are added to traditional TV-watching.
- ESPN’s Millennial viewership during prime time hours increased by 28% when in-home and out-of-home streaming are added to traditional TV-watching.
- That represents growth among Millennial viewers over the same period in 2015-2016 of 4% for Total Day and 13% for Prime Time.
- 46% of all people streaming ESPN in the home are Millennials.
- 34% of all Millennials watching ESPN out-of-home are women.
- The number of Millennial women watching ESPN live rises by 12% once out-of-home viewing is factored in.
The second half of the announcement looks specifically at results from September 25 to November 12:
- ESPN’s audience across all ages is 14% higher when in-home and out-of-home are added to both the Total Day and Prime Time measurements.
- That increase is 18% when looking at measurements of people aged 25-54 who watch the commercials (called “C3” in the release).
Audiences by Sport and Show
Next it shows the impact of streaming on audiences for specific sports during that period:
- Monday Night Football saw a 13% increase overall and a 26% increase among Millennials.
- College football broadcasts saw increases of 16% and 33%.
- NBA broadcasts saw increases of 18% and 27%.
Finally, it looks at how streaming increased the size of Millennial audiences for specific shows:
- College GameDay: 33%.
- Monday Night Countdown: 28%.
- First Take: 19%.
- SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt: 14%.
- Sunday NFL Countdown: 16%.
ESPN and Nielsen have been working together on the new measurement system. For ESPN, it’s a way to show its audiences are more valuable to advertisers than the TV-only numbers show. For Nielsen, it’s a way to show the TV industry that its services are still relevant in the streaming age.
For Flixed, it shows that cable has seen it’s day and streaming is the way of the future.