At the IHS Markit Media and Technology Conference in London this week, David Bailey, Senior Research Manager at Formula 1, posited that OTT and the linear coverage of sport would need to sit alongside one another in order to make the most compelling offering for its customers.
As they roll out their new direct to consumer OTT service F1 TV, it is interesting to see F1 say that linear viewing is still important and needs to be given the proper focus that previous service owners had eschewed. While online streaming is obviously a one potential route, this can be difficult even for tier 1 companies to establish, so the traditional linear route needs to remain an option.
Getting the mix between live, linear and on demand content is particularly key for dedicated sports services, as the live experience is one of the primary reasons fans cite in subscribing to them. Having an On Demand archive is well and good, but for many viewers subscription to such a services comes with the expectation of being able to watch new events live. Consequently, it is more important now than ever that services – especially sports services – give viewers this ability wherever possible, as for many the service will feel incomplete without it.
Of course, for a brand as large as F1, rolling out linear and live viewing is no simple matter, as there are a a litany of broadcast arrangements and commitments across a range of territories to consider. This does not make the challenge of offering live and linear content insurmountable, but it is something to take into account when launching a new service. As utopian as it would be for everyone to get along and have no problem with it, when it comes to brands as big as F1, there are going to be issues.
This is less of a challenge for many mid-market content owners and broadcasters, whose content is extremely attractive to dedicated audiences, but not as likely to be tied to such restrictive broadcast deals. As a result, mid-market companies should capitalise on this moment, when audiences are hungrier for their favourite content – and more willing to pay for it – than ever before. Providing them with what they want, when they want it, ideally powered by a platform that enables them to stream as well as offer On Demand to truly fulfill the desires of their superfans, can put them in the fast lane to increased revenue and greater customer engagement.Contact Airbeem