Optimizing online video apps: learnings from the FIFA World Cup (Part 2)

NAGRA Insight Team
Nov 23, 2018 · 5 min read

by Pietro Berkes, Oumaima Sabir & Jacques-Edouard Guillemot

In the first part of this post on how people watched the FIFA World Cup 2018 on OTT devices, we looked at the behavior of viewers over the course of a match and discussed possible opportunities to optimize advertising budgets and placement.

In this second part, we want to explore the extent to which this overall pattern depends on the type of device used for viewing: mobile, tablet or PC.

Viewer behavior changes with device used to watch

Our hypothesis was that viewers would ideally want to watch the games on as large a screen as possible, and so would only use smaller screen sizes in particular contexts, e.g. when at work or traveling.

This would lead to very different device usage patterns. Indeed, we will show below that this is the case, and discuss the consequences in terms of UI design and advertising opportunities.

The ones who watch the most are not necessarily the ones who are the most valuable.

To get a general idea of device usage, we are going to have a second look at the percentage of unique viewers for each device type (Figure 6). Most viewers are watching on PCs, but are they the most valuable customers ?

Figure 6 Percentage of viewers per device type.

That depends, or course, on how we measure the value of customers, but assuming that we are interested in live advertising, we will first look at the average number of minutes spent viewing by users of each device type (Figure 7). It turns out that PC users spend on average 19 minutes more than tablet users, and 24 minutes more than mobile phone users. That means that live advertising should target the profile of those users, rather than the overall audience profile, as they are the ones who will be watching most ads.

Figure 7 Average viewing minutes by device type.

If we look into viewing behavior in more detail, we see that the simple difference in total viewing time is only part of the story. For each device, we measured the completion rate of the match for every viewer. Figure 8, Figure 9 and Figure 10 show the proportion of users who viewed a given percentage of the match on each device type. It is immediately clear that behavior varies drastically according to device type:

Figure 8 Completion rate of World Cup matches for mobile phone users.
Figure 9 Completion rate of World Cup matches for tablet users.
Figure 10 Completion rate of World cup matches for PC users.

The vast majority of mobile phone users watch the match on their phones for only a very short time: 70% of mobile users watch less than 25% of the match. We speculate that viewers in this category are either at work, traveling, or in another environment where they are not really able to watch the match, so they use their phone to check the score regularly, but briefly. This is confirmed by the fact that mobile phone users come back to their devices multiple times, more than tablet and PC users. (Figure 11)

Figure 11 Average number of separate sessions opened by users for each device type.

By contrast, a large proportion (30%) of PC users watch more than 75% of the match.

Tablet users are somewhere in between: a good proportion of users (50%) watch less than 25% of the match, but on the other hand there is a sizeable group of viewers (15%) who watch over 75%.

Maximizing user satisfaction optimizing the OTT app experience for each device type

For mobile and tablet devices, viewers want to get a quick update on the state of the match and so a quick startup time and easy access to the match are very important:

  • An optimized UI would allow the user to bookmark matches in advance and add a direct link to matches in the app’s start page. The UI could even add such a link itself, based on matches each user has watched in the past.
  • A dedicated page could show the current score and edited highlights summarizing the main events of the match with short videos.
  • Push notifications could alert mobile or tablet users that new highlights are available, increasing the number of times they check in.
  • These new functionalities could be monetized through targeted ads on the highlights page, or through sponsorship of the highlight videos.

A lot can be done to increase OTT Apps stickiness

Live sports coverage has been and remains the most effective differentiating factor for TV operators. Traditionally, sports content has been transmitted via cable or satellite to large TV screens.

Today, however, OTT platforms allow viewers to get access to that content on the go, or on a second or third screen at home when the main TV screen is being used by other family members. With these new usages come new behaviors, which must be addressed with changes in the way the content is offered.

Fortunately, OTT also makes it easy for operators to collect data about sports consumption, and with proper analysis they can gain valuable insights into these new behaviors, make adjustments in order to increase customer satisfaction, and monetize the new opportunities that arise.

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