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A Bundesliga study: How Generation Z is reacting to changes in media use

For the Bundesliga understanding how to attract and engage a Generation Z audience is paramount, so the DFL enlisted WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management to produce a consumption report to inform strategy.

12 April 2019 Guest Contributor

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“Generation Z knows that digital content has its value. This counter-movement to the ‘freemium’ mentality is an important message for all media companies,” says Christian Seifert.

The chief executive of the German Football League (DFL) wise words were in response to the Future Study Bundesliga Consumption report done on behalf of the national soccer body by the WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management (WHU). The WHU study came to the conclusion that for the creators of premium content ‘Generation Z’ appreciates high-quality content and is more willing to pay for it than older generations.

That result tallies with surveys by renowned firms such as TNS and Deloitte, which show that acceptance for paid content online is increasing year on year.

However, Gen Z, categorised as those born between 1997 and 2009, also has its own preferences, especially in the context of Bundesliga broadcasts that formed the focus of the WHU study.

Gen Z’s list of priorities was topped by the desire for shorter and more entertaining media formats. According to the study, ten to 22-year-olds are less likely than older generations to watch an entire football match – instead preferring shorter, personalised content available instantly and permanently thereafter.

This is associated with a desire for personalised content – highlight summaries should be tailored to individual interests, for example with a focus on players of a certain nationality or goalkeeper saves.

There is also a wish for content to complement the core product, such as in-match clips or prepared match data.

The Future Study Bundesliga Consumption study also found that linear television remains an important medium for Gen Z, with 80 per cent watching Bundesliga matches via a traditional television. However, consumption via computers and smartphones is increasing in this age group.

Therefore, the importance of the mobile availability for all content is growing, as is the use of two simultaneous devices to consume that content. According to the report, this second-screen consumption is primarily used to obtain match data and additional information on Bundesliga matches.

The study also showed that Generation Z is far more open to changes in consumption, indicated by the fact that a high proportion, 38 per cent, in that bracket would consider watching a football match via virtual reality (VR).

Sascha Schmidt, head of the study as director of the centre for sports and management at WHU, said: “At four and a half hours, [Generation Z] is the age group with the highest average Bundesliga consumption per matchday. At the same time, there are new trends in media use that will result in changes in broadcast formats and the creation of additional content.”

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