Catching Office Online NCAA Tournament Streamers in the Act

Tournament play begins this week in the 2011 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, which means office productivity is likely to take a hit as fans jump online to watch live streams of games being played during working hours. With online viewing options expanded to mobile and other digital platforms this year, fans have more avenues than ever to get their March Madness fix. In fact, according to a recent estimate by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, total online tournament viewership during work hours is likely to reach 8.4 million hours during this year’s tournament.

In this latest installment of Experian Marketing Services’ continuing March Madness consumer coverage, we’ll profile the work life of online game streamers. Is there one down the hall or in the next cube? The answer is almost certainly “yes,” but the “who” may surprise you. 

According to Experian Simmons, just over 5% of all U.S. adults and nearly a quarter of adult NCAA men’s tournament viewers (24%) qualify as likely online game streamers. For the purpose of this analysis, likely online game streamers is defined as those U.S. adults who watched the last NCAA men’s basketball tournament who also sought out sports information online or watched online video in the last 30 days. These likely online game streamers must have also visited either or in the last 30 days.

Fully 79% of likely online game streamers are employed either full-or or part-time, with 59% working 40 or more hours a week.

Department managers and IT staff-have reason to be concerned about a loss in productivity during March Madness: fully 79% of likely online game streamers are employed either full-or or part-time, with 59% working 40 or more hours a week. Don’t be so quick to suspect that colleague who always shows up late and goes home early as a game streamer. A safer bet would be the guy who’s always at his desk when you get in and still there when you head out. In fact, one-in-ten adults who work more than 40 hours a week (11%) are likely online game streamers, meaning they’re more than twice as likely as the average adult to be checking out the game online.

Remote employees who work at home often get a bad rap with office “suits” sometimes assuming their pajama-clad colleagues fall prey to distractions. Actually though, Americans who work from home are no more or less likely to be likely online streamers than those who don’t work from home. Likewise, the self-employed are no more or less likely to be online game streamers than laborers who work for “the man.”

Interestingly, Experian Simmons found a direct correlation between company size and a worker’s chance of being a likely online game streamer. Specifically:

  • Those who work in companies with fewer than 100 employees are 17% less likely than the average American worker to be likely online game streamers.
  • Those who work in companies with between 100 and 499 employees are just two percent less likely than average to be likely streamers while those employed by companies with between 500 and 999 employees are eight percent more likely to be online game streamers.
  • Employees of companies with 1,000 or more employees are the most likely culprits with the group on average being 17% more likely to be likely online game streamers.

As such, it’s no surprise that Fortune 500 companies are the most at risk of having offices full of online streamers during March Madness. Employees of Fortune 500 companies are fully 66% more likely to be online game streamers than those who Americans employed by a non-Fortune 500 company.

Finally, the best insight into whether your office mates are streaming basketball games online instead of working is by looking at their paycheck (not that we encourage that of course). Specifically, as income rises, so does one’s chance of being an online game streamer:

  • Employed Americans who personally earn less than $25,000 annually are the least likely to be online game streamers, scoring 50% below average on this metric.
  • Those who earn between $25,000 and $49,999 are only 15% less likely to be game streamers.
  • If you know or suspect that your colleague earns upwards of $50,000 a year, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on them for the rest of the month; workers with incomes between $50,000 and $74,999 are 33% more likely than average to be likely game streamers and those who earn between $75,000 and $99,999 are 75% more likely to be likely game streamers.
  • Your colleagues earning $100,000 or more annually are the most likely to be streaming online, with those personally taking home between $100,000 and $149,000 being a whopping 164% more likely than the average employee to be streaming games online.
  • And those earning $150,000 or more annually being fully 176% more likely to be online game streamers. Moreover, one-in-five adults who earn $150,000 a year or more fall into our likely online game streamers segment compared with just 5% of all U.S. adults.

The first match-up to be played during the traditional workday tips off at 12:15 EDT on Thursday March 17th when West Virginia takes on the winner of the second round-one play-in game. Armed with this information, you should be able to catch-or join-your office’s online game streamers in the act.

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