HBO Go, Fox Sports Rank High on Mobile Satisfaction: ForeSee Study

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Viewing media and entertainment websites and apps on mobile devices is outpacing access via personal computers, according to a “Mobile Satisfaction” study released yesterday. 

The ForeSee report includes findings that HBO Go is a close runner-up to Apple’s iTunes as “the best” content streaming supplier and that Fox Sports tops ESPN as the favored mobile sports source.

From an advertising perspective, sports mobile sites and apps have the highest percentage of users who frequently look at ads, ForeSee noted; 18% felt that ads “enhanced their experience,” the report observed.  Overall, mobile app satisfaction is outpacing viewers’ enjoyment of similar content via websites they access on a laptop or desktop computer.

Perhaps even more significant than the popularity rankings is ForeSee’s finding about home usage of mobile content: 52% of respondents access news, sports and streaming mobile sites and apps while they are at home, compared to only 9% who do so while on the go. About two-thirds of survey respondents use a smartphone for their mobile media viewing, and 35% access content via a tablet, the study found.

Wi-Fi and 4G connections play a major role in satisfaction.  ForeSee observed that “as signal degrades, so does the experience.”

Within the media and entertainment category, iTunes indexed at an 80 satisfaction level, according to ForeSee, while HBO Go and Netflix each scored 79. Others in the top five were Amazon Instant Video (78), Crackle and Hulu Plus (both 75).  Among sports providers, the overall satisfaction index was 77, with Fox Sports at 79 and ESPN in a three-way tie with Sports Illustrated and Bleacher Report, all scoring 77. Yahoo! Sports had a 74.

“ESPN is the 800-pound gorilla of sports coverage, but customers complain that there are too many mobile choices in where to connect, too many mobile sites and apps,” said Eric Feinberg, ForeSee’s senior director of Mobile, Media and Entertainment.  “Fox Sports, on the other hand, has plenty of marketing muscle especially with the impending launch of Fox Sports 1, and a more unified mobile strategy, offering a more focused app strategy.”

Among mobile users of news apps, Fox News and NBC News scored matching 79s, while Google News, Reuters, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal shared 78s. Other TV news apps ranked a bit lower in satisfaction levels: CNN.com (76), ABC News (74) and CBS News (73).

The ForeSee’s report, based on 5,500 surveys in June, found that overall user satisfaction with mobile media sites indexed at 77 on a 100-point scale.  By comparison, access to the same sites via PCs and laptops indexed at 67 in a similar study conducted in April. In the new mobile study, media and entertainment sites ranked at about the same level as retail (78), travel and financial services (both 77).

“No industry has demonstrated exceptional customer experience in the mobile environment,” ForeSee concluded, noting that its findings confirm that content suppliers “need to recognize the mobile platform is at least as important as the desktop web environment,” as ForeSee President/CEO Larry Freed put it.

As mobile access plays an ever-larger role in media consumption, the ForeSee findings augur a shift in how media companies realign their production and delivery tactics.  ForeSee summed up its latest “satisfaction study” by noting that, “Satisfied users of mobile news, sports and streaming TV and movie sites and apps [say they are] 80% more likely to use the mobile channel as a primary resource [and] 72% more likely to give positive recommendations.”

That’s a significant suggestion (or warning) for wired delivery providers.

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