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BeoutQ’s piracy campaign: brazen, sophisticated, and undimmed
Voice to change the way media is accessed
Mycujoo: the democratisation of streaming in football
MLS rights consolidation ahead of 2022 market move
Indycar confirms key international deals
Leadership changes as AT&T-Time Warner deal goes through
Ahuja appointed to new Disney Television role
IMG Media extends Forbidden Technologies deal
Sky Sports and NBC extend collaboration
Japan changes broadcast laws ahead of Tokyo 2020
IGTV model yet to be proved out
Welcome to the latest edition of the Broadcast Disruptors Bulletin, bringing you up to speed on the latest thinking, analysis and opinion from across – and occasionally beyond – the sports broadcast space. As always, please send over any feedback – good, bad or indifferent – and news to [email protected] and [email protected]. It’s all helpful.
It’s well over a year since pirate service BeoutQ began illegal retransmissions of BeIN Sports output across the Middle East. That this most audacious and sophisticated pirate operation – widely suspected, of course, as being supported by Saudi Arabia’s government – has not yet been terminated remains remarkable. Now including multiple pirated channels and access to on-demand content in multiple languages, BeoutQ seemingly helps itself to BeIN’s large and global rights portfolio and its expensively assembled output. We are in unchartered territory here.
The sense of frustration on a visit to the broadcaster’s Doha headquarters is palpable. As we saw first-hand on a visit to Doha last week, the company has invested massively in people and enormous, state-of-the-art studios and facilities, only to be left high and dry, as a pawn in a much larger political stand-off. The fury of staff is entirely understandable, as is their frustration with the response from the rights holder community.
In fairness, efforts are ongoing – in the courts, in various territories, as well as by coalitions of broadcasters and rights holders – to apply pressure on Saudi Arabia to shut the service down, something many involved believe could be done by a simple flick of a switch in the Arabsat control room. There is no sign of that happening. Last month’s submission to the US government put it bluntly: ‘While the Saudi Government could easily put an end to the widespread piracy emanating from within its borders, it has chosen not to do so. As a result, the economic damage to BeIN, its rights holders, and the international sports and entertainment industries continues to grow each day.’
And, seemingly, there’s not a jot anyone can do about it.
Amid a rising number of podcasts and increasing investment in audio production and distribution by major publishers, plus the looming prospect of widespread voice technology, the Reuters Institute and University of Oxford ‘Journalism, Media and Technology Trends and Predictions 2019’ report includes research showing that 78% believe voice will change the way media is accessed over the next few years.
Source: Reuters Institute and University of Oxford ‘Journalism, Media and Technology Trends and Predictions 2019’- Digital News Report and RISJ Smart Speaker Survey
In the mixed zone with… Joao and Pedro Presa, Co-Founders of Mycujoo.
Mycujoo is the largest football streaming community in the world – what does that mean?
We started back in 2014 already with the objective of having the biggest football community in the world. When we started thinking about the product, we thought that to drive people into a community you needed to have cool content. At the time we started, there was a brilliant spin-off called Twitch that was driving a massive community of gamers, streaming content online. In order for us to, in five to ten years, build the largest community in football we needed to empower the content rights holders to stream content, so we can start driving users without depending on advertising. Our business model was initially charging rights holders for a tech fee, so we could cover the cost. The first big contract was with the Asian Football Confederation – that was massive for us. In 2016, we were ten employees and we didn’t have much cash. That helped us grow massively, but we knew from day one we had to build a scaleable business model based on the user. That’s the second phase of Mycujoo – since 2016 we’ve started building our commercial team and building the community side of the platform.
What’s the basis of the growth plan?
We know nowadays that 70% of the people coming to our platform are football players. According to a 2006 FIFA study there are approximately 260 million players – 20% of the whole world playing football. We have always focused on the long-term and always focused on mass participation. That’s where we’re driving the platform.
How do you see the future of the platform?
We don’t know in the future if an under-15 game in Portugal will be bigger than Real Madrid versus Barcelona, because of the gamification around the game, the hype created in social media, the stories created around the content. The strategy of Mycujoo is to work with federations, to influence the mass participants to join the platform. We have five key markets: Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand, Portugal and the US. We are confident enough now to start growing organically. We’re starting on a massive amount of hours of football content that we own together with our partners and we’re starting to work on original content around the 90 minutes, the whole story you can build around it.
Joao and Pedro Presa were speaking on the Leaders Sport Business podcast – the full episode is available here.
The big MLS consolidation
SportBusiness Journal’s report this week that Major League Soccer has told its clubs, including its expansion franchises, not to extend local broadcast rights agreements beyond 2022 has raised expectations that the league intends to consolidate all its rights in one package in its next sales cycle. National rights are currently split between ESPN, Fox Sports and Univision, while local deals vary widely across a number of platforms including Time Warner Cable and YouTube TV. While there is no guarantee that MLS will bundle the rights together, having all inventory at its disposal during negotiations can only be advantageous.
Indycar confirms international plans
Ahead of its opening race of the 2019 season this weekend, Indycar has secured two important international broadcast rights contracts. In the UK, the rights will switch from BT Sport to Sky Sports, with the broadcaster housing coverage on its Sky Sports F1 channel. And in Spain, where interest in the Indianapolis 500 is likely to be high given the presence of Fernando Alonso, pay TV platform Movistar+ has secured coverage, to help offset the loss of MotoGP to new market player DAZN.
All change at WarnerMedia
There was a swathe of organisational changes at WarnerMedia in the wake of AT&T’s takeover and the departures last week of David Levy and HBO chief Richard Plepler. CNN President Jeff Zucker has been handed an expanded brief, as Chairman of News and Sport. Robert Greenblatt has been named Chairman of Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer. Zucker has hit the ground running, already touching base with major league commissioners and insisting WarnerMedia “will continue to be aggressive when appropriate and strategic”. It’s expected a day-to-day leader of the company’s sports activities will be appointed, with Zucker taking a strategic oversight role.
Ahuja appointed CFO of Disney Television
When Disney’s part-merger with 21st Century Fox goes through, Ravi Ahuja will become CFO of Disney Television, reporting to wider Disney group CFO Christine MacCarthy and Disney Television Chairman Peter Rice. Ahuja is currently CFO for Fox Networks Group, having joined Fox in 2007.
Three more years of Blackbird, baked in IMG Media’s pie
IMG Media has renewed its agreement with London-based cloud video platform Forbidden Technologies for three more years, the first time the two organisations have agreed a multi-year contract. Worth a ‘six-figure sum over the term’, IMG will use Forbidden’s Blackbird platform to clip up, edit and share IMG Media-produced live sports content, including La Liga, Serie A and EuroLeague Basketball.
Sky Sports and NBC deepen ties
Following the appearance in recent weeks of Sky Sports football talent, including star pundits Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville, on NBC’s Premier League coverage, the two companies, who now share a parent, have confirmed that Sky Sports News will have a one hour broadcast slot every weekday on NBC Sports Network.
Japan has tweaked its broadcast laws to allow public broadcaster NHK to begin simultaneous streaming of its linear programming. The broadcaster was already allowed to stream live sport – as well as disaster news – coverage, but its expanded remit, which will come into effect later this year, comes ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
While Instagram, in particular its Stories feature, has become a platform of choice for sports content creators, its IGTV service, for longer-form vertical content, has proved less immediately successful. Instagram has yet to release official figures on how many of its users are active on IGTV, but the monetization model has yet to be proved out and there is the added complication for creators of reworking content to vertical dimensions. A recent Hollywood Reporter deep-dive on IGTV quoted a number of prominent content creators who ‘paint a picture of a product that hasn’t exactly captured the zeitgeist’. The platform is, however, now allowing IGTV creators to preview content in their photo feed, one of a number of expected tweaks to make content easier to find.
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