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There’s a Lesson for MR in how Mobile Consumers Are Changing TV Sports

 

Blog pic boxers 900 x 300 1Aug17

 

 

Are smartphones a threat to pro athletes’ earnings, their leagues’ profits, and the future of legacy national and local TV outlets that traditionally have paid top dollar for sports’ ability to deliver real-time viewership?

 

The question is gaining urgency from the locker room to the owner’s skybox, not to mention the executive suites of broadcast, cable and satellite TV providers. Their struggle is captured in the title of a new report from Business Insider, “The Digital Disruption of Live Sports: A Deep Dive into the Fall of TV’s Most Lucrative Programming.”

 

Business Insider’s report summary says that live sports have been “traditional TV’s flagship bulwark against digital disruption.” But now that defense “appears to be in trouble” because “new media platforms” are taking audiences elsewhere.

 

Televised sports is hardly the only business that must master the sudden arrival and pervasive appeal of mobile devices as the public’s favored interface with the world of information and communications. Online market research is at a similar point of inflection. To borrow Business Insider’s phraseology, online surveys are also  “in trouble” because “new media platforms” are messing with their ability to attract and engage a responsive audience.

 

In sports, Business Insider’s key takeaways sound like inescapable challenges to the status quo:

  • “The increasing cost of sports broadcast rights and, accordingly, the higher advertising rates for brands, is making the current live sports business model unsustainable.”
  • “With the legacy live sports model in decline, social and digital video platforms are making large strides to acquire sports programming.”
  • “Broadcasters will likely be forced to relinquish a slice of the lucrative revenue pie generated by live sports content.”

The parallel in mobile market research’s challenge to online research is clear. The audience (that is, consumers willing to take surveys) has moved to another platform – the smartphone.  U.S. adults now spend  an average of 2 ¼ hours per day accessing mobile media, rising to more than 3 hours among Millennials.

 

Clearly, businesses that need to know what consumers think, feel, want and do will have to commit their market research to mobile – just as their marketing departments  intuitively are committing marketing dollars to mobile. It’s also clear that market research will have to make the same transition in order to inform business decisions with the most reliable, representative, fraud-resistant and easily obtainable data. So the question concerning mobile research is no longer “will you?” but “will you get it right?”

 

And the answer is that of course you will — as soon as you start learning about mobile research’s best practices, and how they fit your particular needs. The first step is understanding that so-called “mobile optimized” approaches are really cosmetic half-measures the don’t get you the data you need. Mobile best practices begin with in-app, offline mobile studies that will move you forward instead of bogging you down in a futile fight to maintain a status quo that’s collapsing fast. To learn more, just contact us at solutions@mfour.com.