For the all the sheer market force of video on demand the allure of appointment to view TV appears undiminished. This is especially the case around programming that incorporates live elements like Saturday Night Takeaway or Strictly Come Dancing, both averaging more than 8 million viewers in their primetime weekend slot on the BBC and ITV respectively.
By Adrian Pennington
There’s no content more suited to live, though, than sports and one advantage it has over light entertainment is that there is lots of it around (successful LE formats are rare) and still fans can’t seem to get enough.
The mantra that live sports programming is “the battering ram” on which to build and secure a pay TV business, remains as true today as when Rupert Murdoch uttered it a decade ago. Except that now a sportscaster must extend distribution online and particularly on mobile to halt subscriber churn and to reach millennials.
All time high
Competition between pay-TV broadcasters has already driven the value of premium sports rights to all-time highs. Now cash-rich internet players are muscling into the sports arena.
“With sports fans so overwhelmingly eager to pay to access their favourite competitions, there is tremendous scope to further monetise sports on TV,” Ampere Analysis’ Alexios Dimitropoulos said in accompaniment to recent research on the topic. “The challenge will be to balance the enthusiasm for niche competitions, particularly evident among younger viewers, with the demand for big ticket events such as the Champion’s League. Online services have a chance to maximise this demand, with an expanded offering of sports events, and that’s why we’re seeing Facebook, Amazon and Twitter make their first forays into this space.”
This is especially the case for the relatively small number of sports events and brands that have genuinely global appeal. The exclusivity of those rights is a major factor in driving subscriptions.
The complete Future Live TV report covers:
- Quality of service
- Managing traffic
- Sports vs entertainment