Sport gives massive kick to TV viewing as Virgin network surges | Ratings/Measurement | News | Rapid TV News
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In a year in which it completed its own merger and Britain emerged from lockdown to a classic summer of sport, UK cable operator Virgin Media O2 saw customers downloading 19% more broadband data per day than 2020, drive mobile traffic up 45% and see a massive uptick in live TV viewing.
Virgin Media 02 Infographic 23Dec2021
The company has released performance data analysing activity 1 January – 10 December 2021, revealing the impact of what it called another rollercoaster of a year amidst lockdown and varying restrictions, showing the highs and lows on the nation’s connectivity habits across the merged company’s mobile, broadband and TV networks. Indeed, Virgin Media O2 said that during the year it witness its biggest ever year for data use on both broadband and mobile networks, as more people than ever went online to chat, stream, share and game.

During the summer, Virgin witnessed a massive uptick in live sport viewing, up 24% annually. The busiest days of TV viewing were linked to some of the biggest sporting moments early in the year including the India vs England Test Cricket, FA Cup clashes and The Super Bowl. And in early December, Premier League matches streamed on Amazon Prime drove the busiest evening peak of the year, with broadband traffic up 34% on average, and 24% higher than the previous year’s events. The release of Squid Game drove the most Netflix traffic on 3 October, with traffic to the streaming service jumping 27% over previous weekends.

The peak period for broadband and mobile download traffic shifted from 20:00 in the evening to 16:00 in the afternoon during lockdown in February 2021. Virgin described this as the time when “frazzled parents relied on streaming TV, YouTube and online gaming to distract their kids” whilst juggling remote working and Zoom calls.

“Amidst another lockdown and varying restrictions, we’ve seen a sustained growth in demand for our services as customers have made a long-term shift to hybrid-working, and we’ve seen the explosion of online gaming – all of which enhance our need for ultrafast and reliable connectivity across our fixed and mobile networks,” commented Jeanie York, chief technology officer, Virgin Media O2. “The data is clear that these changes are long-lasting: even as we regained our freedom, we continued to connect with friends and family. Whatever 2022 has in store for us, we’re fully prepared to keep the country connected with the things they love.”