November 28, 2022
Ofcom notes that the previous tournament brought in an estimated total audience of more than 3.5 billion people. This year, fans can follow live coverage and highlights via a range of media, from radio and TV (at home or in the pub) to following on social media and streaming on their smartphones.
To find out how fans were planning to view this year’s World Cup, Ofcom asked more than 2,000 people about how, or indeed whether, they intended to watch.
Nearly half (44%) of respondents said that they would be watching some, or all, of the matches. However, a slightly higher proportion (46%) said they would not be following the tournament at all. Eight per cent said they did not know if they would be watching or listening.
Of those who did plan to watch or listen to the World Cup, more than three-quarters (78%) said they planned to follow whole games and more than two-thirds (69%) said they would be doing so on TV. TV was still the first-choice device for all groups, with almost half overall saying they would only watch the tournament on TV and no other device.
However, there was a difference in age groups. Only half (51%) of young people aged 18 to 24 said they would watch whole games live on TV, compared to three quarters (76%) of the older group of respondents aged 55 or older.
As for other methods, twice as many younger respondents (18 to 24) as older respondents (55+) said they would keep up via updates on social media (28% versus 14%) and almost three times as many younger people said they would be watching whole matches in public spaces, such as pubs and big screens (38%, compared to just 13% of those aged 55+).
As for radio, more people aged 25 to 34 than those aged 55+ said they would be tuning in (17% versus 11% respectively).
As for the devices people planned to use, there was more of a clear age divide. For example, less than half (49%) of 18- to 24-year-olds said they would watch the tournament on TV, compared to 89% of over-55s. Conversely, more than twice as many of this younger age group said they would be using a laptop or tablet (29% compared to 14% of over-55s). There was also a difference in age groups for those who planned to keep up using their smartphone to watch games, with more than three times as many younger people than older people saying they would be doing this (34% versus 10%).
When asked about online and social media sources for keeping up with the tournament, again there was a clear age divide. For example, three times as many younger people than older people said they would be using “watch along” channels on YouTube and other platforms (12% versus 3%). Twice as many younger people said they would be using dedicated apps (26% compared to 13% of those aged 55+).
There was also an age divide in plans to use social media during the tournament, with more than twice as many younger people than older people saying they would be using social channels at the same time they were watching the live action on TV (42% compared to 16%).
Ofcom concludes that while the viewing and listening landscape has shifted significantly over the years, the findings show that many fans are making the most of the varied ways in which they can keep up with the competition. To read Ofcom’s news release in full, click here.