Thoughts on trends in the OTT sport industry

When attending the SportsPro OTT Summit, we exchanged with many sports clubs and federations. And we came to some conclusions that we discuss here.

3 min. read

During the SportsPro OTT Summit, we got to talk to many sports clubs and federations. What these organizations spent on short term social media campaigns in the last 5 years strucked us. Furthermore, these resulted in almost nothing. They acquired followers with ease when promoting big events but faced difficulties in creating retention and a real community around them. 

Basing campaigns on social ads are not sustainable models for multiple reasons:

Data is crucial in building digital businesses. By using social media ad services, sports franchises remain blind to these and can’t exploit them.

Gathering fans around a big event is not enough. Most sports franchises have big unexploited archives with relevant content that isn’t distributed nor put forward.

The conclusion we came at after discussing this topic with many actors are the two following:

Bids for big events make content rights so expensive that platforms are now re-considering opportunities and risks. Acquiring 3 years of content rights on the UEFA Champions League or on the Premiership implies investing lots of resources on marketing campaigns. Therefore, by building your communication and your brand around means that your efforts are gone to waste 3 years later because your competitor now owns the content rights instead of you. 

Moreover, this business can sometimes be unstable as we witnessed in France with MediaPro acquiring rights for Ligue 1. Other platforms such as Canal + and TOD in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) decided to build their business models around a balanced mix of sports and entertainment. It is becoming a very strong trend in the industry. It led us to the creation of Rumo sports. A recommendation system dedicated to the sport industry to support this new business model. The entertainment aspects of these new platforms means a need for retention and the best user experience possible. Our showcase during the SportsPro OTT summit proved us right and many companies. 

Because of the fierce competition across video platforms, many of them are returning to ad based models with Free Ad-supported Streaming TV (FAST) channels. In order to articulate freemium business models across Ad-based and subscription-based offers it is crucial for OTT platforms to understand their audience as accurately as possible. In a context of GDPR regulation and cookieless constraints across web, IPTV and CTV deployments, advanced 1st party data has become a must-have.

Our joint demo with Broadpeak for Personalized Virtual Channels has created exciting and forward-looking discussions in this regard. When combined with dynamic ad insertion, this highly personalized service enables a Personalized FAST user experience with personalized channels deployed on the fly depending on every user’s history. Find more info in broadpeak’s article on their joint demo with Spideo.