ESPN.com capped 2007 with nearly four times the audience of other sports sites for its digital video content and data services.
It’s broadband outlet — ESPN360.com — coupled with a broadening global scope (Soccernet.com, CricInfo.com, Scrum.com) and mobile and interactive TV initiatives contributed to a stellar year. This includes all of its digital platforms, such as downloadable content, video game consoles and more.
With ESPN.com at the core of ESPN Digital Media, the site experienced enormous growth in online video and audio use by fans, the company said, in addition to big growth in ESPN Fantasy Sports games and overall traffic to the site. ESPN also launched new social Web elements (SportsNation) that enable sports fans to participate in content creation and extend ESPN.com’s content across the expanding digital landscape.
Perhaps the most dramatic growth for ESPN.com came in the area of online video, where the fans viewed more than 1.2 billion videos in 2007, a 54 percent increase over 2006. Fans, on average, viewed more than 105 million videos per month for the year, growing to an average of more than 127 million for September through December.
According to a recent Horowitz Associates report, ESPN.com was named most often (unaided) by those surveyed as the site they go to for sports video — with nearly four times greater unaided response than any other site named, including YouTube, CNN, Yahoo, Fox, MSN and others.
The report also found that sports are among the most popular overall segments for online video — with one in five high-speed Internet users watching sports video weekly.
Pro football content was the most-viewed video content (14.5 percent of video views), barely edging out pro baseball (14.4 percent). Pro basketball (10.7 percent), soccer (6.9 percent) and college football (5.3 percent) rounded out the top five most popular categories.
ESPN360.com, ESPN’s signature broadband sports network, relaunched in September with a new programming strategy and a dynamic new mosaic interface. Now a 24/7 live sports network, ESPN360.com features more than 2500 live events annually.
The network averaged 134,000 monthly users between the service’s relaunch in September through the end of December, and logged more than 500,000 user viewing hours in that time.
In 2007, overall traffic to ESPN.com grew to an average of nearly 19.3 million unique users per month (an increase of more than 1 million users per month), and ended 2007 with four consecutive months topping 20 million users.