HD Helps a Record Year for Sports

The growth of HD continued, fueled by lower price points and HD inventory oversupply.

From HD Notebook.

While the economy in the final quarter of the year may have put a bit of a damper on most sectors of the economy, the growth of HD (and to a lesser extent, Blu-ray Disc) continued—fueled by lower price points and in some cases an oversupply of HD inventory.

And one of the major drivers of HD growth this year was sports, said Nielsen.

Not only are most televised sports live (and it’s hard to achieve better image quality than live) but such goodies as aerial “bird’s eye” camera work, fantasy football leagues and team loyalties have driven TV sports through the ongoing DTV transition—especially NFL and college football.

According to Nielsen, some of the 2008 sports records by American and global TV viewing include:

* The most watched-ever Super Bowl (97.5 million)
* The most-watched “global event” (Olympics in Beijing, 4.7 billion)
* The most-watched cable broadcast (ESPN) of all time (Cowboys-Eagles, “Monday Night Football” 18.6 million)
* The most-watched cable golf event (Tiger Woods vs. Rocco Mediate, U.S. Open playoff, 4.8 million)
* The most-watched cable baseball game ever (Red Sox-Rays, ALCS Game 7, 13.4 million).

Nielsen says sports fare is more popular with U.S. HD viewers than any other genre—with ratings 20 percent higher in HD homes than non-HD dwellings.

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