DALLAS—New data from Parks Associates’ OTT Video Market Tracker shows that more than two thirds of all internet households (68%) watch NFL games throughout the season, making football the most widely watched sport in the US.
Parks’ researchers noted that the NFL is hoping to capitalize on that popularity with the NFL+ subscription (SVOD) service that offers access to live local and primetime games, NFL Network shows on-demand, and access to the NFL Films archives. But some fans have been frustrated with the viewing experience in the preseason, Parks reported.
“The NFL+ service included out-of-market preseason games but viewable only on mobile devices," said Eric Sorensen, senior contributing analyst, Parks Associates. “Now, with the start of the NFL season, many fans are frustrated with local blackouts on the service. An NFL+ subscription does not guarantee access to every game, but Twitter reactions show the NFL must do a better job of informing fans of the extent and limitations of the product.”
The NFL has distribution deals with many big players, including Amazon, CBS, NBC Universal, and Disney. The fragmented state of NFL’s distribution rights creates major challenges in creating a comprehensive service for its product, Parks said.
"The newly minted NFL+ app opens the possibility that all games could be streamed direct-to-consumer in the future, but the long-term nature of rights deals means an aggregated fan experience is unlikely in the near term,” said Tam Williams, marketing associate, Parks Associates.
The OTT Video Market Tracker, an annual service from Parks Associates, features monthly updates on trends and market activities in the OTT video space, including comprehensive tracking of existing and emerging players and quarterly subscriber estimates.
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George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.