About

Populus
Northburgh House
10 Northburgh Street
London EC1V 0AT

Tel: +44 [0]20 7253 9900
Fax: +44 [0]20 7253 9911

BBC Sport

The Challenge

BBC Sport wanted to build a website to broadcast sports and leagues’ sporting events via a live video or audio stream. The service provides sport governing bodies the ability to live stream their sporting events via a BBC platform.

The BBC’s role would be to provide the platform to bring bigger audiences to existing events. The main aims are:

  • Facilitate the direct delivery of a third party produced feed to the platform,
  • Partner with the content provider to add to and input into their coverage (e.g. BBC journalist adding live text commentary, providing a presenter). We may signpost the coverage on other services as is editorially justified

They wanted to give viewers the chance to watch shows and sporting events not previously shown on prime time terrestrial TV while attracting bigger audiences to existing events.

To do this, BBC Sport first needed to understand not only the appetite for such a digital platform, but also what existing audience needs were; how to meet those expectations, how content should be made available, the scope of the opportunity and which sporting events would have the highest demand.

The Research

BBC Sport commissioned Populus to carry out research. Populus set out on a two-staged approach, carrying out both quantitative and qualitative research. This ensured both a robust and national sample size but also the opportunity to explore and develop hypotheses.

The research showed that affiliation with the BBC raised expectation levels and the need for credibility that the BBC Sport brand holds. It also showed that there was strong appetite for the Live Events Service, highlighting that it was a suitable investment and would have a positive impact on BBC Sport as a result. Athletics, Cycling and Figure Skating were shown to attract the greatest interest, with the overall quality of the stream the most important element of the service.

The Outcome

As a result of Populus research, the Live Event Service (now called BBC Live as a Platform) has now launched and enjoyed:

  • 400 hours of new sport content since launching
  • 20 different sports
  • 3.8 million stream starts

The research gave BBC Sport the assurance that there was an appetite for the Live Events Service, showing that the BBC were justified in launching it, as well as how best to target communications about the launch of service.

The service was seen as unique in having an exclusive pool of sports at no additional cost, revealing opportunity to differentiate from BT Sport and Sky sport’s more mainstream, paid-for content.

Thaddeus Varey, Research Manager, Sport & 5 Live, said:

“Populus’s research allowed us to make informed decisions which have directly benefited the business; allowing us to deliver live events in a new way.

Since launching, we have been able to deliver 400 hours of new sport content, across 20 different sports, attracting 3.8 million stream starts.

The research has had a profoundly positive impact on the business and has made a big difference to the provision of live events coverage.

Working with Populus was seamless; the team are efficient, reliable and expert at what they do.”

Contact Populus to find out more about our Business & Consumer Insight solutions by calling +44 [0]20 7253 9900 or emailing info@populus.co.uk.


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