The BBC has released viewing numbers for Monday night’s World Cup game between England and Tunisia. 18.3 million viewers watched the game on BBC One with three million choosing an online stream. That’s more viewers than the Royal Wedding.
What is also interesting is the popularity of the second screen for this year’s World Cup. The catchily-named BBC Sport VR – FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 virtual reality app, gives footy fans options to select their preferred view in a virtual stadium – behind either one of the goals or in the BBC’s punditry box. Real-time stats and other match information is displayed on-screen.
Research from app market data company App Annie shows that when it was launched on iOS on 14th June, The BBC VR app was ranked #36 in the Sports category, yet had jumped 29 positions to rank #7 in the 24 hours ahead of England’s first game. In the Overall category, the app has made an even steeper climb, soaring 560 positions in 24 hours, from #618 to #58.
Mobile apps offer brands the opportunity to create a uniquely personal experience, something VR feeds into well. However, the social aspect of watching sports shouldn’t be discounted and it’s likely that mixed or augmented reality experiences, that complement linear television while still allowing you to tweet and chat, become the next frontier in the extremely competitive streaming market.