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Generation Z: Can the sports industry ever make money on them?

Ad Blocking and Stream Stealing



Two out of three millennials use ad blockers on their laptops. On mobile, it’s not common yet in the US but likely to follow the global trend toward mobile ad blocking. One third of smartphones in Asia employ ad blockers—and the rate is double that in India and Indonesia. However, it’s not that they hate ads. The number one reason they run ad-blocking software is that the ads slow down the loading of pages. In fact, according to a recent study by USC’s Center for the Digital Future, young millennials actually like ads with sports more than any other generation.



It’s not illegal to watch someone else’s stream. So it’s no surprise that watching pirated streams of sports is common. However, the number one reason millennials watch pirated streams is that the content they want to watch isn’t available to easily buy. In fact, it’s the older generations accustomed to free television who are least willing to pay for sports content. Fans under age 36 are willing to pay a higher price for sports channels than any other generation. Even more notable is that they’re willing to pay a higher price for a sports channel’s IP stream than they’d pay for the same content on a television channel—because stream access can be watched anywhere: at home, at work or on mobile. Facing average bills of $99, 35% of millennials have cut the cord and stopped subscribing to cable TV. Young millennials are now averaging only eight hours of linear TV a week. Is the era of unbundled, à la carte channel subscription inevitable?

  • India has offered à la carte channels since 2011. A la carte on top of skinny cable is coming to Canada this year.
  • 63% of all sports fans are interested in paying for a sports channel. And 86% of Americans are sports fans. On average, they’ll buy 3.5 sports channels.


The real change will be the end of channels as we know them. Tomorrow’s consumers will only want to pay for the hours (or games) they are actually watching. New sites like PopChest that make blockchain payments for content easy and fast, will train consumers to expect to pay only for what they actually watch (10 cents at a time), and this expectation will become pervasive. Can’t figure out what channel your Spurs game is on? That’s irrelevant—just watch on their Facebook page.


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