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Michael Gledhill

Rugby League Viewing Figures Down Again

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Spent the evening looking at the BARB viewing figures for #RugbyLeague on Sky Sports and total viewing figures have fallen by 27% over the last two years. 

To give that figure some contrast, the average decrease in viewing across all Sky Sports TV channels is 12% over the same period.

Premier League games on Sky Sports saw a fall of around 8% over the same period, so #RugbyLeague isn’t alone, but it’s slightly concerning that we’ve lost considerably more viewers than the average 12%. 

Viewing figures were already down 21% before the big Sky Sports channel switch last year. 

I believe the way customers engage with live sport is changing, especially with strong growth in digital-streaming platforms, but Robert Elstone’s first job is to arrest the decline in viewers watching live Rugby League on Sky Sports.

Further evidence of a sustained fall in viewers watching #RugbyLeague could deal a critical blow to any new negotiations post 2021.

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Several things to take note of here. 

Firstly the channel changes. If RL is on, we have to be pushing for main event. Thursdays are an absolute certainty and the 3pm Saturday slot as well as the late evening Toronto home game are ideal for this. Fridays too where we aren't competing with the premier league.

Secondly Sky have lost big time on RU over the past few years. As much as people don't like to admit it there is crossover in viewership. Just on this page now I'm getting an ad for the Pro14 on Premier Sports. With the English Championship and the odd international the only domestic offering sky has to British and irish customers, many have made the switch to BT sport which challenges our viewing figures.

The solution for me is diversification of broadcast options. We have 6 super league games a week which can (and should) be broadcast. However not all should be on Sky, Regular FTA should be a priority for any new TV arrangement. We've all seen the sky "summer of sport" ads that don't include RL - that must change. We should be willing and able to sell sky x number of games for a season with the rest being open for other broadcasters. There is obviously the rest of the pyramid which specifically the championship could include up to 7 former Super League teams in next season. A separate arrangement for them being broadcast should be available.

Other platforms such as Facebook, Youtube etc are another area however I don't see this as an option for the top flight.

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25 minutes ago, Michael Gledhill said:

Spent the evening looking at the BARB viewing figures for #RugbyLeague on Sky Sports and total viewing figures have fallen by 27% over the last two years. 

To give that figure some contrast, the average decrease in viewing across all Sky Sports TV channels is 12% over the same period.

Premier League games on Sky Sports saw a fall of around 8% over the same period, so #RugbyLeague isn’t alone, but it’s slightly concerning that we’ve lost considerably more viewers than the average 12%. 

Viewing figures were already down 21% before the big Sky Sports channel switch last year. 

I believe the way customers engage with live sport is changing, especially with strong growth in digital-streaming platforms, but Robert Elstone’s first job is to arrest the decline in viewers watching live Rugby League on Sky Sports.

Further evidence of a sustained fall in viewers watching #RugbyLeague could deal a critical blow to any new negotiations post 2021.

Can we have the figures you're using for this?

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The game has become stale, boring and sanitised, it's just 5 drives and a kick, 5 drives and a kick and so on and so on. The product is turning people off, and I say that as a rugby league fan.  

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35 minutes ago, Michael Gledhill said:

Spent the evening looking at the BARB viewing figures for #RugbyLeague on Sky Sports and total viewing figures have fallen by 27% over the last two years. 

To give that figure some contrast, the average decrease in viewing across all Sky Sports TV channels is 12% over the same period.

Premier League games on Sky Sports saw a fall of around 8% over the same period, so #RugbyLeague isn’t alone, but it’s slightly concerning that we’ve lost considerably more viewers than the average 12%. 

Viewing figures were already down 21% before the big Sky Sports channel switch last year. 

I believe the way customers engage with live sport is changing, especially with strong growth in digital-streaming platforms, but Robert Elstone’s first job is to arrest the decline in viewers watching live Rugby League on Sky Sports.

Further evidence of a sustained fall in viewers watching #RugbyLeague could deal a critical blow to any new negotiations post 2021.

I'm not at all surprised by those figures, I have had Satellite/Cable sports from the mid eighties primarily for the RL, like the big golf tournaments and Cricket, not interested at all in football, cars or bikes spinning round a track RU and Darts, RL is the driver to paying my subscription.

I have recently stated in discussion that these days I watch more out of habit than for the quality of the product on show, coupled with the "new" initiative of cheating, gamesmanship, time wasting etc, I consider the Super League offering of televised RL is not very good at all, skillfull exciting games are few and far between, if a dyed in the wool supporter of the game like me is thinking this way, what about those who casually watch, will they searching for the remote for the next sceduled match?

Mick you said, to quote "Robert Elstone’s first job is to arrest the decline in viewers watching live Rugby League on Sky Sports." The guy clearly needs help, from those responsible for what happens on the field of play i.e. the players, the coaches, the refferee's and the rule makers, if Mr Elstone is to arrest the falling numbers.

It's akin to doing your weekly shopping if you becone dissalusioned and feel the quality of your favourite store is not as good as it was and the standards are dropping you stop going, and it may take some time before you go back, if ever at all, unless the on-field offering improves Televised RL could suffer the same fate.

Edited by Harry Stottle
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15 minutes ago, barnyia said:

Thursday night games? I forget all the time to watch. 

Why, like anything else, if it makes a really good impression, ypu won't forget.

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2 minutes ago, Private Baldrick said:

The game has become stale, boring and sanitised, it's just 5 drives and a kick, 5 drives and a kick and so on and so on. The product is turning people off, and I say that as a rugby league fan.  

Totally agree.

Sky commentary team is bloody awful too.

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5 minutes ago, Private Baldrick said:

The game has become stale, boring and sanitised, it's just 5 drives and a kick, 5 drives and a kick and so on and so on. The product is turning people off, and I say that as a rugby league fan.  

100%. Teams and coaches play safe. There's little diversification in attacking thinking or general game tactics and players look a bit clueless if plan A doesn't work.

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21 minutes ago, barnyia said:

Thursday night games? I forget all the time to watch. 

They usually do better than Saturdays, some may say that's due to the teams Involved. I get they're bad for travelling fans but flip side of that is lots of folk at home. A game between two top SL sides always gets over 100,000k

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6 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

100%. Teams and coaches play safe. There's little diversification in attacking thinking or general game tactics and players look a bit clueless if plan A doesn't work.

Having read your other post Tommy, you are seemingly encouraging for more of the same, may I say with more exposure of the now on offer product it will have the abillity to turn more people away quicker, which judging by this new post of yours  I think you may just agree with.

Edited by Harry Stottle

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11 minutes ago, Private Baldrick said:

The game has become stale, boring and sanitised, it's just 5 drives and a kick, 5 drives and a kick and so on and so on. The product is turning people off, and I say that as a rugby league fan.  

I think that's an overstatement. Our game is no less expansive than the NRL, but the skill level in Oz, especially the last tackle kicking, is so much higher that their product still comes across so much better. 

That and they have a much smarter and likeable broadcast team. I'd ditch all of ours except Carney and Wells

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The idea that one of the great issues facing the game is tactics is utter nonsense.

The game has two major issues for Elstone to solve. They both relate to quality.

Quality of player and quality of presentation. Address those and we move forward. Address those and the issues regarding distribution, marketing, geographical spread, image/branding, etc and we move forward at a huge pace.

 

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I wonder if the five drives and a kick explains the reasoning behind Sky no longer showing Champions League or Spanish football? Could also explain why BT Sports have given up the rights to Italian football.

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I meet or read about more n more folk disillusioned or packing in sky for various reasons

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4 minutes ago, Harry Stottle said:

Having read your other post Tommy, you are seemingly encouraging for more of the same, may I say with more exposure of the now on offer product it will have the abillity to turn more people away quicker, which judging by this new post of yours  I think you may just agree with.

Not necessarily. I think the way our game comes across is equally applicable to how it is broadcasted. BT have made RU a bit more sexy than how it was becoming on Sky. Competition should hopefully drive up standards. To take the RU example again turds have been polished and polished for years in the 6 nations for example yet the way the games are sold etc helps make it feel better. Imo sky need a rocket up their backside which hopefully Elstone can give them. 

Perhaps on reflection I was being a bit too harsh on our players. I've been to and watched a lot of Super League this year and enjoyed most of it (even watching Leeds).

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26 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

Can we have the figures you're using for this?

I second this request. Like for like comparisons is very very difficult. Often you will get figures like 50k for a SL game on Arena, but it was also on Main Event, but didn;t get high enough figures to make the Top 10 - but this could still total 130-150k.

They can be used indicatively, but no more than that.

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8 minutes ago, Toby Chopra said:

I think that's an overstatement. Our game is no less expansive than the NRL, but the skill level in Oz, especially the last tackle kicking, is so much higher that their product still comes across so much better. 

That and they have a much smarter and likeable broadcast team. I'd ditch all of ours except Carney and Wells

I don't watch the Oz games so can't comment. All I can say is that over the years, for me, the T.V games in general have become too predictable, too regimented and if I am honest, boring to watch.

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On the subject of viewers, it is true that how people consume content is changing drastically and we have been left behind somewhat in that because we completely misjudged the issues the game faced. We spent years of time and effort and opportunity cost focusing on jeopardy thinking it would drive viewers and attendances and completely missed that sport viewership would drop as a whole and how and when people would consume content would change drastically.

We are now behind the 8 ball and need to readdress those issues.

There are plenty of issues for Elstone to address regarding TV rights but this change will possibly be a bigger change than 96 and needs the complete and total focus of the game.

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22 minutes ago, Private Baldrick said:

The game has become stale, boring and sanitised, it's just 5 drives and a kick, 5 drives and a kick and so on and so on. The product is turning people off, and I say that as a rugby league fan.  

Clearly you are talking rubbish. Saints have scored 825 points and all the teams in the top 5 have scored over 700.

So they have not simply been driving in and kicking.

We who are dubious about RU call it, 'kick and clap, so why do tv companies go overboard to show them on tv?

Many games this season have been close contests, with late penalties or drop goals deciding them. Leeds as I recall being on the losing end of more than one.

You are making it up to suit your well honed prejudices.

SKY does not have a monopoly. I do not use SKY and additionally it's NOW system seems to be impossible to use on my laptop. So for instance I do not view cricket, or any other sport because of technical issues.  Sky's coverage is flawed.

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2 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

Not necessarily. I think the way our game comes across is equally applicable to how it is broadcasted. BT have made RU a bit more sexy than how it was becoming on Sky. Competition should hopefully drive up standards. To take the RU example again turds have been polished and polished for years in the 6 nations for example yet the way the games are sold etc helps make it feel better. Imo sky need a rocket up their backside which hopefully Elstone can give them. 

Perhaps on reflection I was being a bit too harsh on our players. I've been to and watched a lot of Super League this year and enjoyed most of it (even watching Leeds).

For a lot of the time in this century, SL in my opinion has been very very good, the product displayed on the field easily overcame the failings of the commentary and production of SKY it really didn't matter the rugby was regularly excellent, it sold itself, for this viewer that is not now the case.

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1 minute ago, Rupert Prince said:

Clearly you are talking rubbish. Saints have scored 825 points and all the teams in the top 5 have scored over 700.

So they have not simply been driving in and kicking.

We who are dubious about RU call it, 'kick and clap, so why do tv companies go overboard to show them on tv?

Many games this season have been close contests, with late penalties or drop goals deciding them. Leeds as I recall being on the losing end of more than one.

You are making it up to suit your well honed prejudices.

SKY does not have a monopoly. I do not use SKY and additionally it's NOW system seems to be impossible to use on my laptop. So for instance I do not view cricket, or any other sport because of technical issues.  Sky's coverage is flawed.

No your majesty, I am expressing my opinion on a rugby forum, an opinion that is as valid as yours. I am not prejudiced in any way. I find other sports monotonous and tedious too!

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1 minute ago, Copa said:

The future is streaming. This is just in Australia.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/1-2-million-devices-telstra-breaks-weekend-sports-streaming-record-20180820-p4zyk7.html

“for NRL there has been 377 million minutes streamed from Round One to Round 21”

This is the future. Just as Sky broke the mould back in the day then streaming and other internet platforms are doing so today. As a sport this is where we should be looking. 

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