Hey Sports Tech Fans,
For those of you who may have missed it, I have included the interview I did with the Techmeme Ride Home podcast.
It was a great conversation and it was an honour to be on one of my favourite podcasts.
I highly recommend you subscribe if you are interested in tech news as Brian is amazing at condensing the big tech news stories of the day into 15 minutes!
He also deep dives into specific areas like sports tech at the weekends. For those of you interested in health tech, wearables, data etc. the bonus episode from the week before my interview is a great listen.
Piracy in the sports broadcast space and how it impacts on rights holders and sports is a fascinating topic that isn’t covered much as much as it should be.
It seems that BeIN Sports CEO is the only one making a real noise about the issue.
Fans want live sports content but not at any price just like broadcasters want sports rights, but not at any cost.
The BeIN CEO thinks that we are reaching the peak of sports rights and he may well be right. The overall value of the Premier League rights in the UK was down in the last auction, despite a new entrant in Amazon.
He argues that piracy is driving down the return on investment to broadcasters and as a result the value of the rights will fall.
It is hard to quantify the size of the piracy issue in sports but its clear it exists in many corners of the internet. Even live streaming platforms like Twitch and Youtube have issues with people live streaming games.
Like we saw in music, piracy has the potential to wipe out huge revenue streams for the rights holders. Then along came Spotify, Apple Music etc. to offer pretty much every song on a subscription model.
With the sports streaming services we are seeing bidding wars for exclusive content, because this content drives sales and stickiness to a platform.
But with the proliferation of so many and with customers not willing to have multiple subscriptions for similar products, we will likely see consolidation before long.
Traditional broadcasters are now offering streaming products that include sports to offer a product to the cord cutters and the cord nevers. This makes them more relevant in an ever changing market place. It also helps them to moderise and compete with the streaming platforms that are trying to eat their dinner.
We have covered the streaming wars extensively here and I expect it to continue in a similar fashion, but with rising costs and a fragmentation of the market piracy looks set to continue to grow at a similar rate.
Live sports is the last bastion of TV advertising as people are willing to see ads during breaks in the live action.
Could advertising have a big part to play in the streaming wars?
If you look at the story sent in Wednesday’s email, there is a case to be made that advertising has a future in video on demand services like Netflix to increase revenues and to increase market share with a cheaper offering or even a free offering.
The launch of NBC’s streaming service Peacock this summer, just in time for the Olympics has a multifaceted offering. They have a free offering with limited content, a $4.99 a month offering with all content with ads and a $9.99 a month offering with no ads.
This seems like a sensible strategy for a new launch as it has something for everyone and will likely see them gain a significant market share as they are the rights holders in the US for The Olympics, Premier League, NFL among others.
They also boast a VOD back catalog that contains Friends and The Office (launching 2021) that were the most watched shows on Netflix last year.
Will we see sports streaming services incorporating dynamic ads to increase revenue streams?
My best guess is yes we will.
With live content being consumed on smart devices like smartphones, tables, Smart TV’s and OTT boxes ads can be tailored to each individual user instead of a blanket broadcast that is the same for everyone, everywhere.
With smart devices you also have a device that is capable of explicit call to actions that can be acted on right now, with the touch of a button.
There is a lot of innovation to come with streaming in my opinion as we move away for linear broadcast on dumb devices and more to dynamic content consumed on smart, connected devices.
Have a great sporting weekend,