In 1998, when Manchester United launched MUTV with a traditional broadcaster SkyTV, Netflix was a DVD mail service and OTT (media over the top of traditional broadcasting) didn’t exist. By 2018, Manchester United’s 650 million+ fans could now watch the channel on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and Xbox.
Manchester United, though, isn’t the only club to provide such a streaming service. About a third of the top 25 football clubs and six of the top ten largest leagues and federations are offering premium OTT services. Sports fans can now watch MMA on UFC’s Fight Pass and Formula 1 races on F1 TV Access. The Sports industry, until now intrinsically attached to broadcasting media, is increasingly betting on OTT streaming. But why change when the old model was making so much money?
Well, quite simply, consumer behaviour has changed. Over the past few years, the sports industry has realised that OTT/ Media Streaming is the future and has been investing heavily in it. For instance, LaLiga launched its streaming service LaLigaSports in 2016. In the next 10 years, it expects to get 50% of its audio-visual revenue through its OTT streaming services.
OTT offers much more data, flexibility, and touch-points for consumers than traditional broadcasting can offer. Here are three ways in which big and small players are leveraging the power of OTT:
- MyCujoo- a streaming service for the fans by the fans: In 2009, Pedro Presa could no longer watch his favourite football team’s games because it had slipped to a lower division and wasn’t available on TV. So in 2015, he started a streaming service MyCujoo, a platform for football at all levels and formats. A leader in long-tail content, MyCujoo streamed more than 20,000 matches from 3,500 content creators and reached 26 million unique users in just 2019. By 2020, sports media service ELEVEN acquired MyCujoo for its technology and user base.
- German Football League (DFL) to launch content in previously inaccessible markets: According to the MTM report, ‘several key players have sought to monetize their prime content in markets where it is not currently sold’. One upcoming example of this strategy is the German Football League. It decided to launch its own OTT streaming service Viaplay, to service areas where it didn’t get a satisfactory deal with traditional broadcasters as well as areas it would like to develop viewership in.
- FC Barcelona, Liberty Media, and UFC capitalise on the power of OTT data to offer custom services: From the moment a user engages with an OTT service, they provide data points about them — their age, gender, likes and dislikes, their attention span, etc. This allows content creators to customise content offerings very closely to their consumers’ needs.
FC Barcelona used data to identify three unique groups of customers. Its streaming service has launched three types of subscriptions — one for adults, one for kids between 14 years and 5 years, and the third for children under the age of 5. Its OTT platform now curates data of 350 million fans across the world allowing them to make such product decisions.
Liberty Media took a different approach for its Formula 1 streaming. It attracts its superfans to F1 TV Access through a non-live tier. F1 TV Pro is a premium tier featuring live races. Not only is it able to customise the availability of F1 TV Pro by market, but also the availability of race replays as well.
Another option for sports content creators is to provide language-specific content. UFC launched its Fight Pass OTT in Japan with custom Japanese content in the local language. It will also provide custom content for desktop users who can watch multiple live streams simultaneously. This variability over different devices is a unique feature of OTT.
With everyone from Manchester United to Formula 1 entering the OTT race, a lot seems to be going on. However, sports OTT is definitely still in its early days. Operators need to battle with a lot of new tools and technology. Not only that, there is tons of data and the need to match consumers to content. All this can be simplified by partnering with an experienced SaaS partner who will offload the time and stress of setting up new technology and allow you to focus on what’s most important — the business of sports.
Want to know more about getting a SaaS partner in your OTT journey? Connect with us today!