Sports content has long been one of the key genres to watch when it comes to assessing how far reaching the OTT video revolution is. Sporting organisations, clubs, federations and channels have always had to tread somewhat carefully in the past when it came to digital services, given their long, intricate arrangements with linear broadcast rights. As the second decade of the 21st century has worn on, however, more and more of those organisations have seen increasing amounts of their content and their fans move towards online viewing, especially with the recent rise of direct-to-consumer services.
While sports is still one of the few areas where linear TV remains at its most competitive with digital viewing, we have reached an inflection point where it makes more sense than ever for sporting organisations, clubs, federations and channels to consider deploying their own direct-to-consumer digital video services. Here are three key reasons why:
Sports fans are some of the most passionate on the planet, and their desire to consume video content for the club, personality or sport of their choice knows few equals. Archival videos, new content, behind the scenes, analysis etc. all of it is of value to them. But engaging directly with them via video has previously been difficult when much of that content has been hosted on other video services.
With a direct-to-consumer service, however, sports organisations can deliver their content directly to their most passionate fans, further monetising their engagement while creating an immersive video experience that they can lose themselves in. This enables you to build a one-to-one relationship with your fans, rather than having to share them with another service.
With that one-to-one relationship with each of your fans established, you’re able to engage with them on a much deeper, more personal level than was possible with your content being hosted on third party services. A direct-to-consumer service can give your fans a much broader, deeper range of the content they want, while you can reap the benefits of this engagement with additional monetisation and increased understanding of their viewing habits, preferences and behaviours through platform analytics.
Viewers across digital video services have been shown to be more than willing to part with their cash if they feel the service that they’re using them is providing them with value for money. That might come in the form of merchandise, increased subscription commitments or one off content purchases, but the ability to upsell is made a lot easier when they feel that the service values them as a viewer. Analytics that are tailored to deliver the information you need about your viewers and the performance of your content make this process even more intuitive, ensuring you can deliver the kind of value they expect in a way that is possible with direct-to-consumer services.
Maximise the value of your content
As mentioned above, your fans are passionate about your content, and are, in many cases, eager to consume as much of it as possible. While third party services, or linear TV channels might only show archive content once in a blue moon to fill a gap in the schedule or fill up a seasonal promotion, you are able to make that video content available on your direct-to-consumer service 24/7. Rather than it just sitting in your archives gathering digital dust, you can make all of it available and thus derive value from it again.
It’s not just archive content though, new content can be created specifically for your direct-to-consumer service, at relatively low cost, which can further deliver your fans what they want – commentary, analysis of key matches/games/moments, previews for upcoming events etc. all of this can keep viewers engaged on a regular, long term basis, reducing churn over the service’s lifetime, giving your viewers more of the video content they crave, and creating further revenue opportunities for you.