On March 28, Uruguay and South Korea played a soccer match. Unfortunately, Korea lost 1:2… but we hope that we can study this trial well and move forward.
Screena ran an experiment on this day. We hosted a watch party while watching the live soccer match on Coupang Play (a South Korean subscription-based video streaming service), and those who participated received a bowl of instant noodles advertised by Son Heung-min. In the end… we had a soccer watch party with only 1 user and some of our Screena staff.
So, yes, the event was a huge failure. However, it was an opportunity to study why sports and watch parties are difficult and what the limitations are. Here are the results of our discussions.
Where did the users go?
While watching the soccer match, I realized that ‘Coupang Play’ also has a live chat feature, so I thought, “Oh, they’re probably going to use the built-in feature on Coupang.” When it came time for the actual match to start, unlike our empty chat room, Coupang Play’s chat room started to get busy, but it didn’t feel as busy as we had expected it to be.
In Screena, there’s a member of the development team who always pops up at the right time to talk about “What is ‘community’”. According to him, it’s a national rule in sports not to use the official chat, because it’s too unmanaged and some trolling users make it difficult to chat. So I don’t think the reason we didn’t have people at our event this time, was because everyone rushed to the sidelines.
Is it a problem with live streaming?
We had already held several movie watch parties at Screena, and in many cases, there were more than 300 people, so this failure was even more puzzling. We had been doing watch parties with VOD content, and this time we were doing live content, so maybe there was a difference there? I was worried.
But when I looked back, I remembered that we had a watch party for Coldplay’s performance on Coupang Play before. Even back then, when Coupang Play was still awkward, there were dozens of people who shared the excitement of Coldplay together online. So I concluded that it would be a mistake to say that we can’t do watch parties simply because it’s live streaming content.
This is actually the second time we’ve done an event using sports. Not too long ago, World Baseball did a Watch Party event on Korean and Japanese baseball, but it ended with a disastrous score.
It still wasn’t clear, but our team thought about the following reasons.
— There are already plenty of offline watch parties for sports, and if you remember the traffic jams at Hapjeong Station on the day of the soccer game, there are probably a lot of people who went to the game in person or had an offline watch party over a beer at a pub.
— There are even plenty of online watch party opportunities. Streaming eliminates the need for synchronization, which is an important aspect of watch parties, so it’s easy for people to join together on their favorite social networks like KakaoTalk or Twitter. Moreover, there are many influencers who also organize watch parties, so there is a lot of competition for Screena.
- In the end, we concluded that there are already too many options for sports streaming watch parties besides Screena and that it would be difficult for people to come to Screena specifically just to win a small number of prizes when there is little enjoyment in the chat itself.
- Nevertheless, there are many people who use Coupang Play by default, so we’re going to find some good works and organize a different watch party event. We’ll let you know in our next post.