Sports Aren’t ‘DVR-Proof’: Survey

The vast majority of pay TV subs with DVRs – about 84.3% -- use them to record sports, a clear indication that live sports are not “DVR-proof,” a new survey from Thuuz Sports found.

The survey of more than 1,000 pay TV subs who are also sports fans conducted in partnership with Ring Digital, also found that 84% of those sports DVR users do so several times a month.

As for the reasons, 75% said they use the DVR as a backup when they can’t watch the game live, 58% use it as a backup when they might miss the start of a contest, and 58% like to skip ads. It’s the latter use-case that Thuuz believes opens the door to a premium-ad-free highlights product.

The study, they said, showed that 70.1% of sports fans would be “extremely” or “very” interested in the concept of a service that automatically curates and personalizes highlights from recently recorded games, and that they would expect to pay an average of $11.74 per month for such a service. About 65% said they would expect to pay more than $10 per month.

Thuuz, of course, is enthused about these findings because they fit well with a product set that uses metadata and algorithms to keep viewers apprised of live games, ranking them based on their excitement level. In mid-2015, the company began to talk up a new app called Thuuz Highlights that adds more personalization to the mix by enabling fans to build highlight reels based on games recorded on a set-top DVR, in a pay TV provider’s VOD library, or stored in the cloud for streaming.

RELATED: Thuuz Pitches Personalized TV(subscription required)

Thuuz’s announced partners include Fox Sports, NBC Sports, Charter Communications, Dish Network, Liberty Global, TiVo and ThinkAnalytics, among others. Of that group, Comcast has testing a DVR In-Game Highlights feature that lets viewers jump to big plays in recorded football and soccer matches (Update: Comcast did not employ Thuuz technology for that DVR test). 

“Thuuz is all about enhancing fan experiences for games and highlights through metadata indicating the best moment to tune-in, which can also be extended to automatically assemble personalized playlists for each subscriber,” Warren Packard, CEO of Thuuz Sports, said in a statement. “These survey results strengthen our commitment to personalized, real-time sports video highlights as a growth strategy for TV operators, sports networks, leagues and teams.”

“Sports are best viewed live, but this survey highlights the fact that most fans with DVRs regularly use them to customize their sports viewing in a near-live fashion, added Brian Ring, principal of Ring Digital. “Indeed, our dataset provides strong evidence that a multi-billion-dollar opportunity exists for TV providers and sports networks to super-serve this user behavior, creating a better TV bundle.”