Sport's place in digital consumption in France
In March 2015, 20.1 million web users browsed sport sites from their computer to satisfy their curiousity, representing a 44% penetration rate in France. Throughout the month, each visitor devoted on average over 1 1/2 hours. Contribution from new screens to this amount were essential. Apps and mobile have greatly increased web users' appetites.
Cycling's Tour de France, the Wimbledon tennis tournament, a repeat of the French football championship... Major sporting events continued throughout the summer, and sporting sites continued to be visited at a healthy rate. The rest of the year was even better, as web users love sport.
The wide availability of Internet-connected devices (computers, smartphones, tablets) allows users to indulge their need for sport content.
Now 83.4% of households have a connection: 46.1 million unique visitors via computer (2 years +), 35.9 million on mobile (11 years +) and 19.1 million on tablet (2 years +) were counted in March 2015.
In March 2015, 20.1 million web users answered their interests by visiting at least 1 sports site. Forty-four percent connected at least once to these sites during the month, according to the last account in March by Médiamétrie. "Each day of this month, we counted 3.6 million sport fans visiting at least once from their computer", stated Lloyd Mullender. The frequency rate is not far from its historic record; in June 2014, because of the Football World Cup, nearly 20.6 million web users were following sport sites.
We should note just how far web-based fans of the sport went. They viewed 81 pages during the month of March 2015. They devoted a lot of time to this: over 1 1/2 hours (96 minutes), a duration that has increased over the years (+12 minutes in 1 year). "This is the result of efforts to improve content and user experience through new technological options made available to web users", the expert noted.
Visit frequency varied appreciably with the web user's sex and age. The computer audience's profile was more male: 56.3% of men compared to 43.7% of women. The latter represented 76.7% of time spent on sports sites. The most devoted fans were those aged 35-49 years old, who represented 32% of the audience of sports sites (compared to 25% of the web user population), and 35.5% of time spent in March 2015. Those aged 15-24 years old viewed as much as the average while those 65 and over verged on this threshold. Those in higher income groups – higher socio-professional groups that include entrepreneurs, executives and members of the liberal professions – proved to be larger consumers than the average: they made up 37% of the sporting audience in March 2015 (compared to 28.8% of the web user population).
Sport news sites, special-interest shops, sport classified ads, parties active in video, etc: many brands fight for sport enthusiasts' interest, but some clearly stand out. The site lequipe.fr rode high, clearly in the lead (6,278,000 unique visitors last March), ahead of eurosport.fr (3,509,000 unique visitors).
27% of mobile internet users use only their smartphone
The audience for sports sites is based mainly on computer use, but the multiplication of screens of smaller and more practical sizes, like the smartphone and tablet, has proven to be a key contribution. Audience measurements for each screen demonstrate this, as well as the Total Internet audience measurement (Computer + Mobile + Tablet). This latter measurement details the contribution from each screen to the overall audience for a digital brand. "Mobile's impact is essential", stated Mullender. "Web users want immediate sports results, to follow matches live .It is the appropriate digital medium." Assessment: the computer is still the market leader, but less than one would tend to think. In March 2015, when 57% of web users connected via a computer, 41% did so on a mobile, and 20% via a tablet. "It's easier to stick a smartphone in a pocket than it is a tablet", jokingly remarked Médiamétrie's expert. The smartphone's mobility allows sports fans to satisfy their curiosity, almost whenever they want, and where they want, in particular while travelling or in the stands for the club they support!
The contribution from each screen is vital, the Total Internet measurement reveals: in March 2015, 43% of web users connected to a sport site only from their computer, 27% exclusively with their smartphone and 13% exclusively with their tablet. Ten percent of web users connected from a computer and smartphone to view sport sites and apps, and 1% from all three screens during the month. As a result, coverage by mobiles has become essential to digital players to reach complementary and more powerful targets.
Twelve million mobile-using sport fans
On mobile, Médiamétrie counted nearly 12 million visitors – or a third of all mobile users – to sites and apps dedicated to sport in March. The upward trend is continuous. One year earlier, frequency of visits verged on 8.8 million individuals. The audience climbed to the record high of June 2014 (nearly 12.4 million unique visitors for the Football World Cup), and sport sites were able to turn these newcomers into loyal visitors. The profile of mobile-using sport fans? It was clearly male (68% compared to 32% female) and young. Individuals aged 25-34 years old are the biggest fans: they represented 24% of the sport audience in March 2015, while they made up 17.2% of the mobile-using population. Each age group has its own preferences. Mobile users did not entirely favour the same brands as computer-based web users. And apps shook up traditional rankings. Of course, lequipe.fr remained the most-used brand (as was the case with computer-connected web users), followed by eurosport.fr (likewise), but the main challenger brands differed. These were matchendirect.fr, footmercato.net, bfmtv.com – to keep to the top 5 sites and apps preferred on mobile. Favoured apps were above all the ones with the biggest web site audiences. However, it was by positioning itself on live sport results that the site matchendirect.fr was able to conquer an enviable position in the ratings.
What remains is the tablet, another way to access sport news. In March 2015, 5.6 million tablet users were counted connecting to the web, or 29.2% of all tablet users. The profile of these users was 50 years and over. Their favourite sites were lequipe.fr and eurosport.fr.
This regular change in the number of mobile and tablet users should certainly be followed, as their appetite for sport is so large. This growth will undoubtedly continue to boost the sites' audiences and leave a path open for challengers.