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2018: a year of commitment
F1 TV audiences up
Inside Hotstar’s international strategy
DAZN launches in Brazil
NBA facilities UGC with TikTok
Golf TV hires Stuart Roach
Martin Stewart takes Sky New Zealand CEO role
New Comcast era begins with Sky-NBC collaboration
Eleven pilots interactive broadcast experience
Wilder vs Fury pirated on a mass scale
Welcome to the latest Broadcast Disruptors Bulletin from Leaders, your guide to what’s new in and around the sports broadcast and media industry. Fantastic to see a European cohort of you in London yesterday for our latest think tank on reimaging the sports broadcast experience. Consider it reimagined. Thanks for all your feedback, suggestions and ideas to date – please do keep them coming to [email protected] and [email protected]. We’re also keen for you – the cream of the world’s sports broadcasting crop – to tell us about what you regard as the most significant developments in sports media this year. Get in touch.
It’s a time of great change, we know that, but 2018 seems set to be remembered as the year in which the major players truly committed to OTT – from Amazon doubling down on its NFL rights and picking up a tasty Premier League package to Major League Baseball’s flirtation with Facebook, Eleven’s launch in the UK to DAZN’s startling series of launches around the world in major markets like Italy, the United States and, just last week, Brazil.
And that commitment came in spite of the continuing technical challenges of successfully creating, launching and managing an OTT product. Teething problems abounded but it seems that the tech giants, broadcasters and rights holders launching their own direct-to-consumer services are willing to accept that a period of public stress-testing is a necessary part of the process – and that there is in fact no alternative when it comes to significant live streaming.
If 2018 was the year of commitment, then 2019 has to be about proof of delivery.
Nielsen Sports has produced its annual review of Formula One’s TV audiences, at the end of a mammoth 21-race 2018 season. According to its analysis, the global audience in 2018 stood at 1.31 billion – a number which will be scrutinised closely next year as the series moves increasingly behind a paywall in several key markets; in the UK, for example, Sky Sports will be the only place to watch Formula One live next year, apart from the British Grand Prix which will be shown live by Channel 4. All other races will be available free-to-air on a highlights basis only. Below are Nielsen’s global audiences for selected Grands Prix this year.
Source: Nielsen Sports
In the mixed zone with…. Ipsita Dasgupta, President of Strategy and New Ventures, Star India
You run strategy for Star and also look after two businesses, the Pro Kabaddi League and streaming app Hotstar outside India – how is the latter developing?
I’ve spent my entire career selling American products and services in emerging markets; this is the reverse. I take home-grown and emerging market products and globalise them, and largely starting in mature markets. We launched Hotstar as a streaming service – it has live sports and the largest sports we have are cricket and kabaddi. The Pro Kabaddi League has 317 million viewers in India, so it’s the second-biggest sport in India today in terms of viewership. It also has Bollywood and South-East Asian entertainment. We launched Hotstar in the US and Canada last year in September with the India-Australia series. Hotstar has live sports, Bollywood and other movies, and entertainment and drama from south Asia, from India. In September we launched in the UK and in the next six months to a year, we’ll launch across the rest of the world. The idea is that Hotstar in each country should look different, so Hotstar in the US should look different from Hotstar UK and Hotstar in the Middle East, to suit the needs of that market.
What are you learning about the audiences in these expansion markets?
If we just start with the South East Asian diaspora, which is essentially India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, we have about 40 million people plus around the world, spread out into different pockets. One reason we started out with the US was it’s the largest market – the US and Canada has about 6.8 million people – and the most affluent. And they’re highly digital, which works well for us. What we’ve found is we just start with the diaspora. When we’re selling cricket in a market, we find that the West Indian community is the second biggest in the market and looking to get access to just as much sport. We’re buying rights for content that’s a lot more localised in these markets.
What’s the rationale behind developing and distributing Hotstar as an OTT product globally?
We’re linear everywhere and distributed well across the world, but the idea of OTT was slightly different. We looked at the explosion of content and how it’s developing in India, on the entertainment and sport side, and we felt like if we didn’t get out direct-to-consumer our consumers wouldn’t get access to everything that was happening in India. So there’s a lot more content on our OTT platform than there is on linear, because on linear it’s the channels that the distributors want. If you’re a cricket watcher in the US you might watch with your friends on the weekend but a lot of the time it can be a lonely experience because you get back to work the next morning and everyone’s talking about football or cricket – nobody cares what Virat Kohli did yesterday. Whereas in India we find most people are watching live, on Hotstar or on TV, in the US, for example, 50% of the watching is video on demand; they’re watching highlights and surrounding content – when you’re at work at 10am on a Monday morning and want that euphoria to come back, your only companion to loving cricket is the app.
Ipsita Dasgupta was speaking at October’s Leaders Sport Business Summit in London.
It’s been quite the second half of the year for DAZN, with launches in Italy and the United States and the announcement it will move into Spain next year followed up last week by news it is entering the Brazilian market with a suite of football rights. As well as Copa Sudamericana games, DAZN has acquired Serie A and Ligue 1 rights in the territory, the latter making Neymar’s Paris Saint-Germain games available to Brazilians for the first time this season. While the full platform won’t be available until March, DAZN is planning free coverage on Facebook and YouTube beginning from tomorrow. In Spain, meanwhile, DAZN has added Euroleague Basketball rights from next season to a launch portfolio which also includes MotoGP and the Premier League.
NBA TikToks another box
The NBA’s new partnership with ByteDance will mean bite-size, customised game and behind the scenes content will be available in markets including the US, Brazil, Indonesia, India, Japan and Korea via short-form UGC video service TikTok, as well as in China through the Douyin, Toutiao and Xigua platforms.
New approach for Roach
Discovery has hired Stuart Roach, F1’s Director of Digital Content, as its VP of Content Production for Golf TV, the streaming platform the company is launching primarily to house its new PGA Tour rights and, as announced last week, a dedicated Tiger Woods channel. Roach has previously had stints running the Olympic Channel’s digital content team during its launch phase and is a former Senior Digital Producer at BT Sport.
Stewart swaps OSN for Sky New Zealand
OSN CEO Martin Stewart has joined Sky New Zealand, where he will replace John Fellett as CEO. He will be replaced at the Middle East and North African broadcast network by Patrick Tillieux. Tillieux will oversee a sports rights portfolio which includes WWE and International Cricket Council events, while Stewart is entering a market where Sky is facing a growing challenge from telco Spark, which has recently landed rights to Formula One and the Premier League.
In what might be an early sign of collaborations to come following Comcast’s acquisition of Sky, NBC’s Premier League coverage, now a fixture of the network’s Saturday morning line-up, has begun to feature contributions from Sky Sports on-air talent, with the two broadcasters sharing interview content and the likes of Gary Neville making post-match contributions to NBC’s live game coverage.
Eleven’s a crowd
Eleven Sports’ latest feature, Watch Together, will have a trial period in the streaming service’s various markets over the coming weeks. Viewers of Eleven’s live programming will have the option to ‘create a room’ and invite four friends to ‘share the emotion of watching a live sport event’. It is working with Reactoo, one of several companies to have developed such interactive online environments, on the trial.
The pirates were out in force for the heavyweight title fight between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury this weekend. According to UK-based piracy tracker Muso, 9,982,144 people watched the fight via a pirate stream. 1.9 million of those were recorded in the US, where Showtime were broadcasting the fight on pay-per-view, and over a million in the UK, where BT Sport were doing the same. According to Muso, the fight was made available on 133 pirate domains, and on 80 YouTube live links. Ring Magazine reports that the fight generated between 320,000 and 325,000 pay-per-view sales in the US.
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