Cleeng and Brightcove teamed up again at Sportel Monaco to demo our combined technologies and showcase inspiring client cases to an audience of broadcasters, production companies, content distributors, and international sports’ federations from around the world. At the same time, big networks, satellite providers and technology providers revealed their latest technological achievements to bring big athletic events to the living room. Here is a snapshot of some of the recurring themes and key takeaways from our conversations both on and off the show floor.
The Product Remains Key to Growth
Two content genres remain essentially consumed live: news and sports. In the eyes of viewers, quality has been defined by exclusivity, timing and accessibility. All the parties in the broadcasting value chain need to ensure that the right content is delivered expediently and with quality, irrespective of the platform or device. It is easy to understand that the better the product and UX, the more leverage the provider of the video experience has. Rights holders continue to extract a premium for well presented and valuable sports viewing experiences.
Redefined relationships between broadcasters and sports leagues.
Sport leagues have built deeper relationships with broadcasters to create partnerships in which the broadcaster is incentivized to help build the brand. At the same time, leagues also want to be ensure they retain control of their fan base. From NASCAR, to the NHL, or next year with the launch of Olympic TV Channel, leagues are working to better understand who their viewers are and how they consume live and on-demand video content.
Sustainable growth is key in competitive markets.
Elite leagues strive for sustainable growth. They see themselves as very much in competition with each other to secure the greatest share in viewing time and revenue, and each has developed a commercial model and strategy designed to achieve that. The distribution of content is at the heart of this battle for financial dominance. Football is at the fore today with both La Liga and the Premier League growing revenues significantly of late. According to the TV Sports Markets’ global report, the football rights’ market will grow by 55% over the 2010-2017 period. This year, Premier League hit an all-time record of 4.44 billion Euros in revenue.
Technology reshapes business models.
Live sports broadcasting is becoming more and more valuable in the overall content ecosystem. “4 screen viewing” is the real challenge for technology providers, and it’s a standard already set by consumers. Developing and distributing premium content is an essential differentiator for quad-play operators. Big companies have also been looking for new revenue streams (such as betting rights) and new payment models to beef up their revenues. Pay-per-view models have been proven as a flexible option for viewers, and some sports giants (NBA and Rugby World Cup) have introduced those type of offerings this year. The explosion of mobile and social media platforms, live streaming apps, time-shifting and PVRs gives a vote of confidence to the future of the industry.
Local sports gain in popularity
With technology leveling the playing field, local sporting events not covered by mainstream sports outlets now have the chance to reach their target audiences. More and more locals can now watch the big sport events held in their own country and cheer for their local athletes. The May-Paq fight was aired on 4 channels simultaneously and 8.9 million Filipinos were ready to watch it live and cheer up for Pacquiao (79.1% of the total market share). Vasaloppet, the Swedish cross country race, was watched by 1.8 million Swedish viewers (85% of the total market share) according to Eurodata TV Worldwide statistics.
Sports piracy is an issue, but new ways for tackling it are emerging
We all witnessed the emergence of live streaming apps and how it affected sports piracy. But just how dangerous are these new apps? User-generated live streams are generally shot from hand-held mobile devices, so the viewing experience is poor. They are not the biggest danger to rights-owners, the monetizers are. The classic approach for targeting piracy (targeting the pirated streams) is slowly being abandoned. Embracing the platforms and improving officially-licensed content, perhaps even incorporating ‘pirate’ user-generated streams is the new way of challenging the issue. Content rights-holders’ best strategy might be to focus on controlling the availability of quality content, rather than pouring money into tackling the proliferation of pirated content available online. Some good tactics can be creating exclusive and behind-the-scenes content, highlights which no-one else can match even when footage from a match is showing up on Vine in near real-time.
Sports fans’ expectations will continue to rise and Cleeng and Brightcove are committed to partnering with broadcasters, content providers, and leagues to meet them and while delivering ROI. To learn more about delivering, protecting and monetizing premium sports experiences across multiple devices and platforms with Brightcove and Cleeng, contact us.
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