The federal sports channel Match TV has increased the number of its young viewers in its first year of broadcasting and expanded the general audience of its sports feeds. The share of young viewers on the television channel, aged 18 to 24, grew by 35%, while the male audience in this age group grew by 56%.
Viewers aged 18 to 24 make up 21% of the Match TV audience. According to statistics from TNS Russia, Match TV is among the top 10 federal channels with its 3.5% share of the male audience over the age of 18.
“Our task in the next few years is to form a loyal sports audience so that Match TV starts to be perceived as a platform where one can learn everything about sport. We significantly expanded our sports broadcasting, showed sports that were previously not shown on federal broadcasts, and offered high-quality sports analytics,” said Tina Kandelaki, general producer of Match TV.
Focus on sports broadcasting
Since the launch of the channel in November 2015, the volume of the channel’s sports broadcasts has doubled to 4,100 hours and now makes up 48% of the total broadcast time on Match TV. The number of male viewers over 18 years old who watch these broadcasts is higher than average viewership numbers on Match TV at 4.5%.
According to TNS Russia, the most popular sports among the Match TV male audience aged 25 to 59 were biathlon, football, ice hockey, boxing and auto racing. Meanwhile, the female audience showed a preference for biathlon, figure skating and cross-country skiing.
Among the most popular sporting events with the channel’s audience were the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the ice hockey world championships, the European Championship in football, and the Biathlon World Cup. TV viewing of sports broadcasts reached its peak of 31.7% during the Finland-Russia match at the ice hockey world championship.
Match TV reduced the volume of TV series and films in the channel’s program schedule by six times, instead filling the air with sports programs. Over the past year, the channel has released 50 documentary projects, which included documentary series, themed documentary films and biographical portraits.
“Sports broadcasting lies at the core of our content strategy. Match TV broadcasts started showing programs, shows and documentaries of its own production, which are inextricably linked to sporting events. At the same time, we intentionally stepped aside from showing films and series that are not related to sport,” said Natalia Bilan, creative director of the television channel.
Match TV broadcasts use world-class technologies and equipment. The channel has improved its virtual graphics in sports broadcasts, which makes it possible to create an impression for the viewer of being fully in a stadium and to focus the attention of the viewers on the details of the game.
During the filming of competitions, the Match TV team uses stabilized cameras to shoot in motion, micro-cameras that are built into the goal posts, long-focus lenses, and slow-motion cameras for slow-motion shooting, as well as spider-cameras and video drones.
“So-called city-profiles, when we present the city where the match is held to the audience, has become a signature of our broadcasts, especially those in the expanded format. The possibilities of analytical and virtual graphics are widely shown. Technology makes it possible to give an intuitive analysis of the most interesting episodes, without distracting the viewer from the flow of the game. This is a new development in Russian sports broadcasts, and we will continue to increase such informational supplements to our live streams,” said Borislav Volodin, deputy general manager of the sub-holding Gazrom-Media Match.
The sub-holding Match includes several assets: the federal sports channel Match TV, online sports portal Sportbox and matchtv.ru website, paid theme channels and mobile applications. The federal television channel Match TV is a showcase for nine special-interest sports channels (Match! Arena, Match! Boets, Match! Igra, Match! Football 1, Match! Football 2, Match! Football 3, Match! Nash Sport, Match! Nash Futbol, KHL TV), which are broadcast by 532 pay TV operators in Russia.
The volume of sport broadcasts on the special interest channels amounts to 7,160 hours per month (1,790 hours per week). The total reach of these channels is 7.8 million viewers among a male audience over 18 years old, while the average viewing time of the channels is 33 minutes per day.
Gazprom-Media Match digital platforms (matchtv.ru, sportbox.ru) account for more than 55% of the total share among the sports resources on the Russian-language Internet, according to the TNS Web Index, and cover more than half of the audience of the whole Runet. According to Google Analytics, the average monthly number of visits to the digital resources exceeds 43 million sessions.
The mobile application Match! Club is a leader in the segment of mobile applications with the function of a second screen and it has more than 1.7 million subscribers.
The dynamics of the total growth in audience numbers for Match TV on social networks over the past year has significantly exceeded the dynamics of other Russian sports media: the total audience now counts more than 1.1 million subscribers.
“The strategy of the Gazprom-Media’s sports business is based on the concept ‘Sport 360,’ which blurs the boundaries between all broadcast environments. The strategic focus of Match, at the moment, is aimed at the promotion of sport in Russia. Match TV channel, which has a federal scale, handles this task the best. At the same time, the digital resources of the sub-holding (Internet portal, paid special interest channels, mobile apps) organically expand the audience of the TV channel, offering spectators additional opportunities, exclusive and timely information,” commented Dmitry Granov, general manager of Gazprom-Media Match.