Sports is essential in the broadcasting world.
Where else would you pay a lot of money for an event that is broadcasted live, captures a certain demographic and, when recorded, diminishes it’s impact?
On the other hand, leagues like the NFL realize that the audience is increasingly viewing their product online or via mobile devices.
Which makes this decision brave (and curious):
Signing with Yahoo (who paid a pittance of $20 million to the NFL IMHO) while gaining a potential audience of 1 billion (Yahoo) is a great sign that the NFL gets it. And that they want to exploit this audience. On the other hand, it’ll be interesting to see two things:
a) whether or not the vertically integrated telcos/cable (content and pipes) will start bidding even more to keep these rights or
b) if Yahoo et al combine with ‘a’ as a supplement (eg: broadcasting games on a certain day/period).
Personally, I’d like to see another route -> an Internet company grabbing the entire rights. Then having the telcos/cable companies bid for certain parts.
Not only will you get the best of both worlds (mobile audience) and linear TV/cable, but everyone would be happy (niche advertising, audience demographics).
The future – sooner, rather than later.
You’re at a fight. Ring side seats. You paid a lot of money. Nothing will ruin your mood.
Until you see people filming the fight via their smartphones. Transmitting short clips using Periscope or Meerkat. The picture? Grainy. Uneven. Short. But the idea is there – paid people “thinking” that they’re helping others by transmitting clips of the fight to others via social media.
How do would you feel? Some would feel that they were ripped off. Others, would feel good that they’re sharing the fight with others (free).
Now, pretend you’re HBO. A part of you would be peeved. You paid big money. Even though you got record PPV views, you want to monetize all the content (the live sporting events generates the biggest audience). Even though your social media team is monitoring Twitter (and notifying them and Meerkat) to shut down the feeds, it’s not enough. For every one that is caught, more pop up.
And that’s the problem:
Not only is everyone is becoming a broadcaster but the sticky issue of broadcasting rights comes into play, especially in the sports field (http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2015/05/18/periscope-meerkat-threaten-teams-hold-video-feeds-sports-arenas/W9qIdrhi5A5DhhAwjkMIKK/story.html).
That’s the dilemma facing everyone. As a content creator (sports etc), you want to engage your fan in their medium. Not only to encourage interaction but to drive the eyeballs/sales to your product. As a fan, you’re showing your “love” of the product by sharing this with the world.
Is there a solution that will satisfy everyone?
The joys of M&E (media and entertainment) -> nothing stands still. And it’s constantly changing.
P.S. I’d like to argue that before Meerkat and Periscope arrived, people were already broadcasting concerts etc via their smartphones or uploading them to YouTube a day later to share with everyone.
P.P.S. Even from a payments perspective, would it be hard to monetize the content (eg: smartphone user transmitting clips to his or her friend)? I don’t know. And that’s why I love this sector. So many challenges. Tons of solutions.
I love reading this article. It proves that the pipes (cable, fibre optic) aren’t important. The content is. While the author has a point, some would argue that you need both to succeed in the marketplace (eg: Comcast-NBC Universal, BCE-Bell Media). Or the deep pockets (i.e. money) you need to buy the content (an excellent example? Telus in Canada. It avoided becoming an integrated content and pipe company and focused on the thing it did best -> building the infrastructure (pipes)).
Personally? I’ve always favored the companies who built the pipes (cable, fibre). And refrained from buying any studios. It showed discipline. Guts. They knew their clients will always find the content they need on the Internet. If they decided to buy a bundle from them (studios need to find outlets for their content) for convenience sake, even better.
Pipes. The keys to delivering your content. Without them, there’s no content to see in the first place.
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