The federal sports channel Match TV (part of Gazprom-Media Holding) tallied up the results of the 2018 World Cup broadcasts on air and on its digital resources. The number of unique users of the Match TV digital platform doubled during the 2018 World Cup and reached a record number of 28.1 million. The TV channel’s content and match broadcasts got almost 184 million views online, which became the best result. Live match broadcasts on the channel showed a 22.3% share of television viewing among a male audience aged 14 to 59.
The viewers of Match TV’s sports resources had access to all 64 matches of the tournament, with 30 of them broadcast live on the federal channel Match TV. Users could watch all the World Cup matches for free on the TV channel’s website matchtv.ru or through the application Match! Club!.
Match TV channel reached a record viewership share from the start of its June broadcasts - 6% in the target audience “men aged 14-59,” according to Mediascope data. In total, the World Cup broadcasts on Match TV reached 58% (40.2 million) of Russians older than 4 years, and 64% (14.6 million) of the channel’s target audience of men aged 14-59.
According to Mediascope data, the average share of television viewing of the 30 matches on live air was 22.3% among the target audience of men aged 14-59 and 12.8% among an audience over 4 years old. The ⅛ final between Colombia and England’s national teams became the most popular broadcast of the 2018 World Cup among Match TV viewers - the television viewing share of this match among the target audience of men aged 14-59 was 40.9%. More than 3 million people watched this match in Moscow.
Overall, taking into account all the reruns, a maximum number of World Cup matches was shown on Match TV - 112 matches with the average viewership share of 11.3%. The TV channel set its daytime viewership record on July 3 - 20.7%.
Digital environment and social networks
The users of Match TV’s digital resources had access to thorough information about the 2018 World Cup: statistics of the tournament, analytics, video profiles of all the participating countries, video reviews of the matches and materials about football stars at the tournament. As a result, during the 2018 World Cup, the total number of unique users on the websites matchtv.ru and sportbox.ru doubled and added up to more than 28.1 million people. The views of the 2018 World Cup’s video content reached a record number of 183.7 million on the digital resources of matchtv.ru, sportbox.ru and in the application Match! Club, as well as on the social networks and on YouTube. Live broadcasts of all the 2018 World Cup matches on the digital platforms matchtv.ru, sportbox.ru and in the application Match! Club got 24.5 million views. Among the users of Match TV’s digital resources, the most popular broadcasts were the matches with the participation of the Russian and Egyptian national teams, the matches of the Russian team in the ⅛ and quarterfinal, each of which got an average of 1.1 million views.
Match TV prepared exclusive content for its social network followers and quickly informed them about the details and results of all matches during the broadcasts. The official accounts of Match TV featured videos with the main and decisive moments of the matches, statistics of football match ups, interviews and commentary from footballers and coaches. There were 9,425 posts published on the social networks of Match TV during the 2018 World Cup - in VKontakte, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Odnoklassniki - which received 6.7 million responses (comments, likes, reposts) from subscribers. Match TV’s content on social networks reached 130 million people. The number of subscribers to Match TV’s groups in social networks grew by 1.36 million, reaching more than 3.8 million people.
Match TV studios for the 2018 World Cup
Match TV built an ultramodern studio on Vorobyovy Gory especially for the 2018 World Cup. The studio provided live informational and analytical support during the broadcasts of all the matches. The guests and experts of the studio included well-known Russian footballers and coaches, such as Aleksandr Kerzhakov, Denis Glushakov, Dimitri Cheryshev, Sergei Semak, Aleksandr Mostovoi and others.
Television lives were also done from an open, floating studio on the Neva river in St. Petersburg.
The broadcast grid of the channel was organized in such a way that the audience switched to the Match TV studio in between the halves in order to get high-quality analytics and match analysis, as well as forecasts from leading football experts. According to Mediascope data, the television audience of sports news and analytics on Match TV tripled: in the tournament period (14.06-07.07) the share of the news and analytics programs reached 7.6%. In total, there were 15 staff football commentators working on Match TV platforms.
Moreover, Match TV built studios and provided their technical support for large foreign broadcasters. For ESPN (Latin America) there was a studio set up in the legendary House on the Embankment, for CCTV (China) in Zaryadye Park, and for UNIVISION (USA, broadcasts to Latin America) on the terrace of the Four Seasons Hotel. Foreign TV companies CNN, BBC, Saudi Sports, Mediaset and RTI did live broadcasts with the Match TV studio at Vorobyovy Gory in the background.
Match TV special projects
Match TV and Rostelecom launched a joint project in time for the 2018 World Cup - the television channel Match! Ultra, which broadcast World Cup matches without commercial breaks 24 hours a day. The TV channel was available to 5 million Rostelecom subscribers during the tournament period - from June 13 to July 15. The TV channel Match Planeta later replaced it by returning to its usual spot on air.
On the eve of the 2018 World Cup, Match TV launched the digital platform HYPEMETER 2018, which analyzed the social networks activity of the 32 national teams and players participating in the tournament. According to the platform’s data, the popularity of the Russian national team’s players in social networks grew dramatically: in total, the players got more than 2.4 million new subscribers. Residents of 116 countries used this digital resource.
Match TV channel also carried out a special project together with the social network VKontakte - the show Chempionat Bez Kupyur (A Championship without Banknotes). As part of the project, there were live broadcasts on the channel’s VKontakte page with hosts and guests that appealed to young people. The project collected 16 million views.