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OTT Technology defines the future of live sports

The advent of OTT providers has changed the rules of media rights distribution — especially in live sports arena. Amazon, one of the new entrants to the market, has completed a much-anticipated US$50-million deal with NFL to live-stream Thursday Night Games in the US to its Amazon Prime subscribers.

BY TAN HUI XIAN, APB REPORTER

As sports networks face erosion from cord-cutters, they are now increasing their investment in OTT technology by 15%, representing a total spend of $6.8 billion in the US by 2021. Moreover, sports rights will cost more than an arm and a leg in the future; the cost of sports rights will soar to $23 billion by 2021, according to a report by Deltatre, a one-stop solution provider for sports entertainment.

With the immense pressure to justify the media rights spend, sports operators are leveraging OTT technology more intensively to monetise user engagement.

The 24-page Deltatre report suggests that most of the investment will be used to reduce latency with 5G; creation of multiple platforms to provide viewers flexibility to view the matches anytime, anywhere. Furthermore, the funds will be deployed on developing a new realm of technologies that engages users while monetising the user engagement.

The survey report backs the claim that over 71% of the respondents are craving to be closer to the action through deep immersive features on their OTT devices.

George Pyne, CEO, Bruin Sports Capital, observed: “If a content or distribution company wants to be relevant to the new generation of consumers, it has to be on the front end of the OTT movement, and the time is now with a significant amount of sports rights in play over the next four years.

“The investment in OTT will drive innovation that fuels growth businesses informed by deep levels of data and insights derived from a highly engaged, rapidly growing audience. Those who ignore this opportunity will pay a real penalty because they’ll miss out on a highly valuable consumer base which nobody can afford to do.”

And Giampiero Rinaudo, CEO, Deltatre, advised: “The sports OTT KPIs have changed. It’s no longer just about streaming the match.

“Encouraging viewers to come back day after day is the gold standard, even when there’s not a live match taking place. And that means maximising engagement on the shoulders of the game itself.

“Tailoring video and editorial content to different types of fans and reconfiguring the UI and UX based on time of day, user insights, or the latest developments in the sports world that week, is how brands create a better ecosystem around a sport.”

Currently, intense competition and high cost in sports media rights have slowed down the bull run in OTT market. The report concludes that as the lines between traditional and digital providers starts to converge, the synergy will usher in a new era of OTT 2.O – a future that brings the immersive experience closer to the fans.

If content is king, then personalised experience is the king-maker in live-multicast of sports arena.

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