Which OTT Strategy to Adopt for Sport Federations and Leagues?

Alexandre Dujardin, commercial manager for international markets at digital sports specialist deltatre, assesses the OTT options on offer to federations and leagues.

Which OTT Strategy to Adopt for Sport Federations and Leagues?

Not a week goes by without news on the launch of a new OTT offer or the acquisition of sport properties by an OTT Player, writes Alexandre Dujardin, commercial manager, international markets at deltatre.

Some observers predict that the development of OTT in sport may dramatically change the sport TV industry with new viewing consumption habits, new players and new business models.

But, for sure, we haven’t come to that point. The traditional TV players whether it be a pay-TV platform, free-to-air or pay-TV channels are still central and here to stay.

In this context, which strategy are federations and leagues best to adopt? How can they take advantage of this emergence, in terms of reach and revenue?

Don’t skip TV

TV remains central for sport federations and leagues. At this stage, OTT alone can’t offer comparable reach, audience and rights fees, which are the fundamentals of their business models.

A B2C-only strategy could then be very hazardous with the risk of disappearing from the radar screen and not recouping the OTT platform investment.

Even sport events with a pay-per-view legacy, such as boxing events keep TV in their media mix as a complement and support to their B2C offer.

However, such B2C distribution can be envisaged in markets where no TV deal has been signed or the proposed rights fees are not deemed to be sufficient, so as to build the brand, create value in the market and limit online piracy.

OTT as a complementary offer to TV

Mixing TV and OTT can leverage sport content. OTT can actually go beyond the coverage of traditional linear TV channels; bringing innovative technical possibilities to fit with new viewing consumption habits such as:

• more live content with more competitions, more games

• enhanced viewing experience, with additional cameras and live in-games stats

• content available on more devices, anywhere, anytime

• viewing flexibility with on-demand content

OTT to reach new audiences

Whereas TV addresses the traditional mainstream audience, OTT can target new audience segments such as Millennials, bringing sport to their fingertips, and extensive hours of sport content for the most hard-core of sports fans.

This broadened reach is an obvious benefit for federations and leagues when it comes to awareness, fan engagement and sponsorship opportunities.

New monetisation opportunities

OTT is not one of these new technological and trendy gimmicks you will never manage to monetize.

The business model already exists, as there is an appetite from viewers (who in some case are ready to pay with money and not just by watching ads), broadcasters, pay-TV platforms, OTT players and brands.

Monetisation opportunities can be generated from several revenue streams:

• increased value of rights fees with more content and new distribution segments (mobile, internet);

• sponsorship opportunities with innovative advertising supports, increased digital audience and new targets;

• B2C revenues with the launch of an OTT platform, such as NHL Game Center or NBA League Pass

Deliver more to broadcasters to feed their OTT offer

A range of complementary digital content and solutions can be produced and delivered to rights holders, to nurture their OTT platforms and their second screen applications.

As an example, thanks to UEFA’s new content production, deltatre offers “Next Generation Digital Services” for UEFA Champions League 2015-18, including digital components and services, such as:

• more live video content: all games, multi-cams

• near live clips to re-watch the best action

• live stats to enrich the live streams

• digital graphic assets

• digital services such as Diva Player to combine live streams, near-live video clips and live stats.

Time is of the essence

There is obviously a first mover advantage for Federations and Leagues. Going OTT is on today’s agenda of many broadcasters and pay-TV platforms, who are looking for additional content to nurture their OTT offer and 2nd screen applications.

Offering this type of content is currently a great competitive advantage, and is likely to remain highly valued before it becomes the market standard.

deltatre has great experience in this area. If you’d like to speak with an expert please get in touch.