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World Cup 2018: Watch it, tweet it, stream it
27 June 2018
So the World Cup is in full swing and England are on a winning streak, Harry Kane is a national hero and we can dream about ending those 52 years of hurt. Well, maybe.
While we can whisper about winning it, this World Cup is a big deal, as with a more connected world than ever, everyone is watching and talking about it.
England's close 2-1 win over Tunisia, for example, attracted a TV audience of 18.3 million, beating May's Royal Wedding and proving once and for all that Harry Kane is more popular than Prince Harry. But while that equated to 69.2 per cent of the potential audience, that pales in comparison to Iceland's first ever World Cup game, as 99.6 per cent of the country's TV viewers watched their side draw with Argentina.
Overall, it's expected that 3.4 billion people will watch this year's World Cup - and they'll be doing a lot more than sitting in front of their TV.
The second screen is social
This year, social media is where much of the world Cup will be discussed. More than half of fans (51 per cent) will use social media while watching the World Cup, with 50 per cent messaging friends during the games.
672 million tweets using the #WorldCup hashtag were sent
During the last tournament in 2014, some 672 million tweets using the #WorldCup hashtag were sent, while there were 2.1 billion related searches on Google and 350 million people talking about it on Facebook. Given how much further social media has progressed in the past four years, we can expect it to be much busier this time around, as the tournament moves beyond the TV.
It's not just on the big screen where England fans are watching. This World Cup, online streaming has also proven to be a hugely popular option, letting people keep up with the football wherever they are. Indeed, more than three million people used the BBC's iPlayer or Sport website to watch the win over Tunisia - a new record for the service.
Is streaming meeting expectations?
However, those using iPlayer or ITV Hub might find they aren't quite getting the true live experience. In fact, these 'live' streams are often at least two minutes behind broadcast TV, which means fans following along on social media learn about goals and incidents long before they see them.
There are several factors behind this, but one of the biggest issues is that streaming pictures go through extra steps before being delivered to the user, which increases latency.
Your Internet connection could also play a part. Slower speeds might mean breaks in playback, which higher-quality HD services will be off-limits. If you're using a shared connection, anything else you have running on the same network will mean less bandwidth available for streaming.
This isn't just an issue for home users. While managers may or may not approve of employees watching the World Cup in working hours, having extra strain placed on already slow networks can leave businesses struggling to operate. But with faster, higher-bandwidth networks, high-quality streaming will be more reliable and not impact other services, whether you're hosting a videoconference or watching Harry Kane lift the World Cup.
Well, we can dream, can't we?