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Social media to drive “appointment to view” during summer of sport

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UK viewers are stocking up the fridge and settling in for a summer of sport, says Freeview

The various major sporting events taking place this summer are going to benefit from strong social media engagement and a hungry viewing public, according to a new survey from DTT platform Freeview.

Over 34mn Brits are expected to watch the sumer’s sporting events on TV, which include the London 2012 Olympics, the Euro 2012 football championship, the French Open, the F1 season, horse racing at Ascot, the Wimbledon tennis championship, and the British Open gold championship.

Around one in eight (14%) viewers will watch at least some of the action on a laptop, according to the survey, and one in ten (10%) on on a desktop computer. Only one in twenty viewers (5%) are expected to watch the action on a tablet computer, while 7% will view it on a smartphone.

This year’s sporting fiestas will see substantial social media engagement, according to the survey, with more than one in four viewers (26%) expecting to share their sports viewing experiences online – rising to 45% for the 25-34 age group. Just over a fifth of those online (21%) will share and discuss events via Facebook, with women (23%) more likely than men (19%) to use this social media channel.

British adults are expected to tweet an average of four times about the Olympics, with over 180mn tweets expected in total. Social media is also expected to drive “appointment to view”: 10% of Brits online think discussion on social networks will encourage them to tune in to the live sporting action.

High-definition is the preferred viewing format for the majority, with 30% of those surveyed identifying HD services as their favourite format. Catch-up services such as the BBC’s iPlayer were found to be the second most popular source, finding favour with 16% of respondents, while PVRs came third with 9%. Just 1% of respondents chose 3D, and 1% chose Smart TVs.

Communal watching was found to be much in favour, with over half (57%) of viewers tuning in to watch the action with their partner and a quarter planning to watch with friends. Less than one in eight (12%) were planning to watch the action alone.

The median TV screen size for this summer of sport will be 35″, according to the survey – an average increase of 4 inches from the Beijing Games in 2008. Nearly a quarter of the nation will be watching London 2012 on a TV of 42″ or larger, compared to only 8% for the Beijing Games.

The full report can be found here.

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