OTT has been a growing phenomenon, and sports is no exception. Eurosport have identified the opportunities in the market, and intend to capitalise on it. They share their vision...
To proclaim the end of TV would be to make a huge mistake.
Official figures always suggest that traditional viewing – certainly for sport – is still much higher than it is for streaming services, whilst you can always find articles stating that audiences watching on TV are more inclined to be engaged during ad breaks than they are when watching on streams.
For sport, where events often happen at set times every week, many fans – especially of older generations – simply like the ability to switch on the TV and know what they’re doing.
Live-streaming platforms aren’t quite the instant threat that they are sometimes portrayed as – especially when the bidding for media rights is about to start – but OTT in sport is a growing phenomenon. Be that with on-demand content or live-streaming, online-first platforms are definitely growing in popularity.
And maybe that will only grow when it comes to smaller sports which don’t have the huge mass appeal of the likes of the Premier League or the NFL.
In an interview with Digiday Senior Vice President of Business Development at Eurosport Digital, Sameer Pabari, talked about the channel’s strategy for its Winter Olympics coverage, and hinted that the broadcaster had little interest in ‘chasing audiences’.
Instead, Eurosport are looking to spread the word about their streaming platform. By seeding content onto social media platforms for free, and by amplifying not just the sport but their own coverage of it, they are making people aware of the brand as a large broadcaster, and one they might perhaps have discounted as a little bit niche in the past – certainly in the UK.
Maybe that’s because sports like cycling, athletics and skiing have often been Eurosport’s stock in trade when it comes to the UK sports rights landscape. But having recently acquired the Olympic games as well as bagging the rights to other big events like the snooker World Championships there are sporting events on the channel that a UK audience would usually tune into en-masse.
At a time when the biggest sports appear to be dominating the public consciousness more and more, Eurosport’s strategy of amplifying awareness about their platform by getting it out there on social media and boosting reach rather than actual viewer numbers on their own platform seems like a sensible strategy to grow the brand.
There will come a point, though, when they need to translate that into viewers on their owned platforms, but although the switch from traditional TV to online-first platforms won’t happen overnight, it is coming bit by bit. And Eurosport plan to be in position as it grows.
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