Sporting enthusiasts are increasingly using alternative channels to access content. So are online platforms a threat to traditional TV’s dominance in the world of sports coverage?
Rushton, Blakeman and Clarke
Director, strategy and corporate development Asia-Pacific
The short answer is yes. The proliferation of live streaming has changed the way sports rights are sold. The agencies that buy the rights are changing the way they structure tender documents and broadcast rights to reflect the strength of digital, whether it’s PC, mobile or smart TV.
In Sky’s recent results announcement, the main commentary was to recognise the need to debundle channels from their physical delivery platforms. Consumers now expect content to be delivered any time, anywhere and on any platform, but don’t feel comfortable with flat monthly subscription rates. That’s the big advantage of digital over traditional telcos.
Using new platforms and debundling the pricing model is a pretty big step change from the way the likes of ESPN and Sky have typically run their business. No one is going to stop watching TV and just watch sport on their Mac. The real change is going to be the proliferation of connected TV. The gatekeepers will have to change their product offering to an a-la-carte experience.
Online platforms are already taking over from TV and the evidence is pretty compelling.
Just a few days ago in Barcelona, the Global Sports Forum released research that indicates that in Europe, over 36 per cent of the core sports demographic of 18 to 35-year- olds watch their favourite sport or team online, which is around 4 per cent higher than those watching sporting content on television.
It’s a significant shift, as just a year ago, the same piece of research showed that television was still the leader for sports video content for this age group.
The implications are huge for advertisers, content providers, broadcasters, rights holders and even the sports professionals themselves as they will inevitably be affected by the way consumers are watching their sport.
World Sport Group
It’s more of an opportunity. Broadcast TV remains the most effective platform when you have something a lot of people want to see.
Online platforms actually enhance the broadcast experience, in two ways. First, they enable a traditional channel to show additional matches to fans, via live streaming to internet. Secondly, it’s a means of immersing fans in data and additional information. We did this during last year’s AFC Asian Cup with official sponsor Samsung through a sponsored match centre, with running commentary, heat maps and enhanced deep data. The same data was available on mobile platforms.
Some broadcasters are already taking this on board, but it doesn’t just have to be the broadcaster. We represent rights owners and if the broadcaster is not pursuing online media, we have the opportunity to do so with other partners. In the past, if you wanted to go mobile, you had to go with the telcos, but now it is possible to work independently of them too.
It is different when talking about niche audiences; the opportunity there depends on providing a broadcast platform where no broadcast platform previously existed.