Image source: AFP

As the clock strikes 4 p.m. in New York, I find myself heading for the television in the lobby of our offices, fighting for a viewing angle among my co-workers as we applaud the opening touch of the U.S.-Belgium World Cup match. While the turnout for this informal “management meeting” is decent, I begin to wonder how many of my co-workers are enjoying the game in their offices, or heaven forbid, in the bathroom.

Last week, Dialogic launched a poll on its website homepage that asked how people were watching the World Cup. Television dominated the poll with 58.6 percent of respondents favoring what could be called an Old World medium. The corollary, however, is that 41.4 percent are watching on PCs or wireless devices. This is an astounding shift in viewing habits, given that PC streaming was barely an option just two World Cups ago. It speaks to both the number of national sports networks that are offering streaming options, as well as the ability of broadband and wireless networks to support such video demand. In fact, ESPN, a U.S. sports network, reported that it averaged more than 1 million online viewers for the first round match between the U.S. and Germany. ESPN’s World Cup coverage has also logged more than 30 million hours of aggregate viewing, 50 percent more hours than the Summer Olympics in 2012. 

The biggest surprise in the survey is that more respondents (22.4 percent) are watching via cellular networks than Wi-Fi (19 percent), and that 3G had slightly more viewers than 4G. The 3G/4G split certainly reflects the international nature of the Dialogic customer base and the absence of LTE coverage in many countries with large mobile populations and great football teams. During a trip last week to Amsterdam, no fewer than five people on my tram were watching their mobile phones to see the Netherlands defeat Chile. As I leaned over the shoulder of one avid fan, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and consistency of his video feed. The stream never once buffered, stalled or degraded. I wish more could be said of Chile, who went down in defeat, two goals to nil.

Visit our homepage, www.dialogic.com, to participate in our weekly survey so we can include your input when we blog the results here. Want to tweet or share this week’s results? Click here or post: Nearly half of World Cup viewers spurn TV for wireless or broadband: bit.ly/1luw1w8 via @Dialogic.