Mobile scores with Italian football’s Juventus, as it opts to kill its TV channel

Watching video on mobile devices has been one of the consumer trends we’ve been telling you about for a dozen quarters, as the number of plays and length of time watching content has soared.

But live sports and related content likely will probe the true catalyst for mobile video adoption, and some sports teams – and leagues – are launching mobile first initiatives to take advantage of consumers’ – especially the valuable Millennial men demo – migration to mobile devices.

The latest to focus on mobile? Italian football club Juventus, which has shelved its traditional official TV channel in favor of a mobile OTT streaming platform, the better to leverage its recent signing of superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Juventus TV, will be available on phones, tablets, and computers for $3.50/month or $17/year and will feature match highlights and game replays (live game domestic rights for Italy’s Serie A league belong to streaming platform DAZN), as well as player interviews, press conferences, and other features. Juventus TV viewers will be able to choose from multiple viewing angles to watch the highlights and replays.

In the U.S., Saturday’s Juventus opener – and Ronaldo’s debut in Serie A play – will be carried by ESPN+.

England’s Premier League also has invested heavily in mobile streaming, with clubs increasing Wi-Fi capacity in stadiums as one way to deliver an even better product to fans who attend games – game highlights, scores from other games and player features all are available to fans in the stadium, and effort to curb flagging attendance. Other content is available to fans watching from home or on the road.

Mobile continues to grow

Globally, nearly 60% of all video plays start on a mobile device, according to the Q1 2018 Video Index (available for download here), the eighth-consecutive quarter that saw mobile’s share of video plays top 50%.

Overall, more than 50% of time watched on mobile devices was long-form video (in excess of 20 minutes long), during Q1, with viewers watching video 20-40 mins. long to completion 57% of the time on smartphones and 61% of the time on tablets.

Sports is likely to drive those numbers higher.

During the World Cup, fans averaged more than 64 minutes of continuous viewing per unique viewer and more than 31.2 million users streamed the group matched on BBC’s iPlayer, compared to 32 million online viewers for the whole of the 2014 World Cup from Brazil.

The Bottom Line

It wasn’t very long ago that content owners, broadcasters and operators saw mobile devices as a good bet to reach Millennials, but not other demographics. But, in recent quarters the reach of mobile devices – especially smartphones – has soared globally and older demographics are becoming far more likely to watch content on mobile devices… even with larger screens available.

Content owners who want to reach more eyeballs have to make sure they’re supporting a quality mobile product along with other screens.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn