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ESPN Digital Media Starts 2015 with New All-Time Record: 94 Million Unique Users in January

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ESPN now owns the top eight months all-time for total unique visitors in sports category history; 22 million daily users, up nearly 10 million from last year; 34 percent share of sports category is more than Nos. 2, 3 and 4 properties combined; 73 million mobile users is new category record; 485 million video views is all-time monthly high; Sixth time in eight months with more than 1 billion minutes of streaming on WatchESPN.

Click to view info graphic.

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Driven by the College Football Playoff, NFL playoffs, and NBA regular season, ESPN Digital Media in January reached a record-setting 93.97 million unique visitors in the U.S., up 52 percent from a year ago. This new all-time monthly high for reach edged out the previous record, established by ESPN in September 2014, by 14,000 unique users.

ESPN’s performance from June 2014 through January 2015 now comprises the top eight monthly unique visitor totals in sports category history.

ESPN reached 22.2 million U.S. people daily across devices in January, up 9.8 million over a year ago, and more than the Nos. 2 and 3 sports properties combined (Yahoo Sports-NBC Sports Network at 11.3 million, Bleacher Report-Turner Sports Network at 7.8 million). 24 percent of ESPN’s total monthly users visited the property on a daily basis, a higher daily return rate than all but one other top 15 sports category property.

On mobile devices alone, 72.5 million unique users accessed ESPN web and app content, a sports category record and up from 41.3 million a year ago. ESPN mobile visitors generated 4.1 billion minutes of usage, more than the next four mobile sports properties combined.

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61 percent of ESPN’s unique users – 56.9 million people – exclusively accessed content on smartphones and tablets. This is the 10th consecutive month that more than half of ESPN’s digital users came only from mobile devices.

Fans spent 7.1 billion minutes using ESPN digital properties, up 38 percent from a year ago, and also a sports category record for the month of January. Overall, ESPN accounted for 33.5 percent of all sports category usage on digital platforms, more than the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 properties combined (Yahoo! Sports-NBC Sports Network had 13.1 percent, Fox Sports Digital-Sporting News Media 11.0 percent, Bleacher Report-Turner Sports Network 8.1 percent).

More results from the January comScore Multi-Platform report:

  • ESPN reached 7.1 million millennial male unique visitors (aged 18-34) on a daily basis, ranking seventh among the more than 24,000 U.S. digital properties reported by comScore. ESPN ranked ahead of properties such as Pandora (6.6 million daily), Twitter (4.4 million), Wikimedia (4.0 million), Gawker Media (1.8 million), and Buzzfeed (1.6 million), among others.
  • A record-setting 74.2 million people used ESPN.com across devices in January, up 44 percent from a year ago, with 54.5 million people visiting ESPN.com via smartphones and tablets.
  • 58 percent of all time spent with ESPN digital content was consumed by mobile device users, the ninth consecutive month that smartphones and tablets contributed a larger share of usage to ESPN’s digital total than desktop and laptop computers.
  • ESPN’s SportsCenter app (now ESPN app) topped the sports category for unique visitors (13.8 million) and tallied 785 million total minutes of usage. 
  • ESPN’s portfolio of apps were used by 22.5 million people, twice as many users as the No. 2 sports app property (NFL Internet Group, 11.2 million). ESPN apps generated 2.3 billion minutes of usage – 45 percent of all time spent with sports category apps – and nearly 1.5 billion more minutes than the No. 2 sports property (Bleacher Report-Turner Sports Network, 885 million).

Additional results from ESPN Research & Analytics:

  • 9 million unique devices streamed WatchESPN and ESPN3 content in January (up 44 percent from a year ago), as viewers spent 1.2 billion minutes with programming across all platforms (up 65 percent).1
    • January’s total minutes count was the fourth best month ever for WatchESPN.
    • January marked the sixth time in the past eight months in which WatchESPN surpassed one billion minutes of streaming.1
    • ESPN3 was the second most streamed network on the WatchESPN platform (trailing only ESPN) racking up 298.9 million minutes of viewing.1
  • Fans watched 485.4 million ESPN digital video clips in January across all touch points, up 17 percent from a year ago and the biggest monthly total in ESPN history. January marked the ninth straight month where ESPN saw more than 400 million clips viewed.1
    • 6 million video clip views on ESPN platforms came from mobile phones, a new record and up 125 percent year-over-year.1
    • 66 percent of all ESPN platform clips were viewed on computers, 27 percent on phones and tablets, and 6 percent on connected TVs.1

ESPN networks and ABC sports television content generated 19.1 million tweets in January, accounting for 24 percent of all TV-related activity during the month.2 Other key social media metrics:

  • 3 million unique authors produced tweets about ESPN networks and ABC sports television content, representing 38 percent of the U.S. population tweeting about television in January.2
  • ESPN’s top Twitter accounts were retweeted or favorited 15.1 million times, up 22 percent over the prior month. ESPN’s Twitter accounts now have 45 million unique followers.3
  • ESPN’s top seven Instagram accounts generated 27.3 million engagements, a 62 percent increase from December.4

1 Source: Adobe Analytics
2 Source: Nielsen SocialGuide
3 Source: Twitter
4 Source: Instagram

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