The internet has enabled transformative ways of delivering content, and the latest player is OTT. These platforms have redefined the future of sports broadcasting, with sports OTT services becoming a lucrative market globally.
The current and future standing of the OTT sports broadcast market
Streaming live sports events has become the norm — at home, with friends, and even outside in restaurants and arenas.
In India alone, sports broadcasting rights are set to soar to $1.3 billion by 2024, from $1.1 billion only as recently as 2019. The revenue from TV viewership and sports streaming solutions alone shot up to $5.2 billion.
The surge is said to be led by a young demographic with a propensity to pay for such platforms, but it also helps that internet speeds have skyrocketed and its availability across the country is steadily increasing.
With a variety of sports catching on in India, whether national or international, it’s safe to say that the appetite for video streaming solutions for sports will only increase in the coming few years.
The rise of sports OTT providers
Several participants have come forth to take part in the streaming race. This not only includes typical OTT streaming platforms but also sports clubs, federations, leagues, and businesses that previously gave out rights to other broadcasters.
A critical reason behind this is that delving into OTT allows content distributors to directly control the revenue generated, whether by subscriptions or advertisements. This is a good enough reason to cut out the middle-man and take streaming into one’s own hands.
For smaller federations, creating a sports OTT streaming opportunity means the potential to reach fans beyond their core market and in different parts of the world. It allows them to gather vital data about their fan base, including their demographics, viewing patterns, habits, and preferences. This paves the way for personalisation like never before and helps content owners position their broadcasts in a way that brings in maximum benefit.
These perks haven’t gone unnoticed — all over the world, sports operators are investing a whopping 15% of their budget in OTT services.
By 2021, more than $6.8 billion will be invested in OTT sports broadcasting technology in North America alone.
One can only imagine what that figure would look like if calculated globally.
The personalisation wave in consumer experience
Long gone are the days when a one-size-fits-all approach went down well with consumers. Today, every user has come to expect personalisation, and this extends to OTT platforms as well.
Personalisation on sports OTT platforms looks slightly different compared to regular OTT platforms. For one sports platforms are largely used by people who are already invested in the niche, unlike regular viewing platforms which cover a range of genres and make recommendations differently.
As a result, OTT sports platforms have leveraged technology to personalise the viewership experience by presenting, for example, relevant statistics that the viewer wants, superimposed screens for those who watch multiple sports, and replay and fast-forward options for in-depth viewing.
Personalisation can also extend to building an entire localised ecosystem around the platform. This can be done by allowing viewers to engage with each other over live chats, or to create private ‘watch’ rooms with friends to elevate the experience. It could also include providing analytics, reviews and statistics of an upcoming match in an interactive and engaging manner.
Convenience also plays a critical role in getting viewers to invest their time and money in OTT sports broadcasting. In today’s multi-screen world, optimising something as dynamic as sports for a variety of screen sizes and resolutions go a long way in getting and retaining loyal viewers. The experience becomes that much better if the interactivity offered on larger screens can be optimised for the smaller ones as well, to keep the playing field level.
The predominant challenges of OTT sports streaming
Despite sports streaming platforms being a profitable arena, there are several challenges that providers both new and veteran might expect to face.
Since the OTT market is so lucrative right now, existing and new competitors find themselves neck to neck in terms of distinctive features and technological advances. It doesn’t help that there is a status quo that a majority of providers tend to follow, which means that the offerings that differentiate each other aren’t much. In order to meet this challenge, it is vital that providers tap into previously unexplored niches and pay more attention to what their user demographic needs rather than what the provider thinks they would like.
It’s a common trend that anything one has to pay for probably has a free, albeit low-quality, alternative. The same is true of live sports streaming, as many platforms stream content for free and have quite a few viewers despite high-quality alternatives elsewhere. This can be quite disastrous for content providers because both their revenue and potential audience have been needlessly diverted into less-than-ideal platforms. To battle this, it is essential that content providers position themselves as the one-stop-shop for such content, by promising high-quality content for affordable prices, with additional perks to boot.
The streaming live sports revolution with global OTT platforms
Broadcast live sports isn’t going anywhere, but it will take on different forms with each new change in technology. There’s no better time to jump on the bandwagon than now because OTT content consumption is soaring and new players are gathering speed. Viewer needs will also evolve, as will their demands from OTT platforms.
Future video innovations will bring with them a wave of new expectations and high-set bars. If you’re considering venturing into this area, it is highly recommended that you choose the Best OTT platform providers that can help you achieve all your business needs with the clarity and skill of experienced pros.