IHS: World Cup Soccer Spiked Global TV Sales in 2018

Last summer’s FIFA World Cup Soccer tournament in Russia helped increase global TV sales 2.9% to 221 million units, according to new data from IHS Markit Research.

In the fourth quarter of 2018 more than half of all shipments were ultra-high-definition (UHD) TVs with increasingly larger screen sizes.

“Average new TV screen sizes are still growing at least one inch per year,” Paul Grey, research director, said in a statement. “With falling LCD panel prices, consumers clearly care more about trading-up in size than about spending less money. Even in Japan, where consumers have been resistant to buying large TVs, the average screen size increased year over year.”

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Indeed, UHD TV shipments reached 99 million units. China led the global market with 30.1 million TVs shipped in 2018, followed by North America with 24.7 million. Nearly 63% of TV sets in Western Europe shipped with UHD resolution in the fourth quarter of 2018, the largest share of any global region.

Meanwhile, 18,600 8K TVs shipped globally in 2018.

“The launch of an 8K channel by Japan’s NHK network, was an important landmark last year, which led to an acceleration in 8K TV shipments in Japan during Q4,” Gray said.

Separately, smart TVs that support UHD through streaming services continued to rise in volume. More than three-quarters of TVs shipped in quarter were smart TVs. In North America, more than 85% of all TVs were smart TVs, which is 10% higher than the previous year.

Finally, just under 1 million OLED TVs shipped in the quarter, up 20% over the prior year. Thanks to increasing competition, large-screen 55-inch OLED TVs hit new levels of affordability in Western Europe. Meanwhile, OLED TV shipments to North America fell 26%, year over year, due in part to aggressive price declines in very large LCD TV sizes.

Cinedigm Secures Digital Rights to Female Sports Festival: The Aurora Games

In the era of the #MeToo movement and female empowerment, Cinedigm announced it has acquired exclusive worldwide digital (including live-streaming) distribution rights to The Aurora Games – an ambitious all-female sports and entertainment festival slated for Aug. 20 to 25, 2019.

The event– scheduled to occur every two years celebrating women’s accomplishments against a backdrop of world-class competition and entertainment – is the brainchild of long-time sports executive Jerry Solomon, probably best-known for his business association and marriage to former Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan.

Soloman-produced sports events include tennis’ BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden, World Tennis Day and World Tennis Day events in Hong Kong and London, figure skating’s Tribute to the Golden Age of American Skating, Halloween on Ice and One Enchanted Evening, beach volleyball’s Queen of the Beach Invitational, among others.

High-profile advisors include Donna de Varona, Chris Evert, Nadia Comaneci, Kerrigan and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, among others.

“The Aurora Gamesis coming to audiences at the perfect time,” Yolanda Macias, EVP, content acquisitions, digital sales and studio relations at Cinedigm, said in a statement. “A combination of female empowerment, elite athletes, inspiring personal stories and great entertainment will make this appointment viewing.”

The six-day event, whose inaugural site and related details have yet to be disclosed, represents another opportunity for over-the-top video distribution in live sports programming. Recent high-profile events that secured live-streaming distribution included soccer’s World Cup in Russia (on YouTube TV), the Tour de France bike race (NBC Sports Gold) and the U.S. Open Tennis Championships (Amazon Prime Video in the U.K).

With digital platforms that include The Dove Channel, Docurama and CONtv, The Aurora Games would represent the first foray (with related challenges) into live-streaming for Cinedigm and its Chinese corporate parent.

Indeed, both YouTube and Amazon experienced early technical glitches streaming World Cup soccer and tennis, respectively, to subscribers accustomed to flawless pay-TV broadcasts.

With The Aurora Games a work in progress, Cinedigm’s venture into live-streaming represents a high-profile learning opportunity.

“With streaming rapidly becoming one of the key ways that sports related content is consumed, Cinedigm is once again providing innovative digitally driven distribution services for high quality content partners,” said Bill Sondheim, president of Cinedigm Entertainment Group.