Luke Boyle on OTT & the future of sports broadcasting

Magine Pro’s CCO, Luke Boyle shares his thoughts on the current climate and what he thinks the future has in store for sports OTT. 

Usually, at this time of year, we would be heading back from several international trips to glorious places such as Monaco and Madrid, having attended some of the biggest sports broadcast and OTT conventions in the region. This has not happened. It isn’t that type of year…

Sport stopped. It stopped. This has never happened in my lifetime. But then it came back. The players and athletes, when allowed out of their bubbles, continue to enthral and entertain us. Though this is in very few cases (well done New Zealand!) in front of full or even partial crowds. So how do we, the fans, get to view the trials and tribulations of our favourite icons and teams? The obvious answer is of course via broadcasts, live and on-demand, and more commonly via a subscription or transactional OTT service (I say subscription, as unfortunately, though it is coming, I am yet to see a profitable pure sports AVOD service). 

One of the big discussion points of late has been how COVID has disrupted businesses. For the digital media industry, the reality is that it has expedited development. Within the space of six months, we’ve seen perhaps three years of user behaviour and technological innovation. At Magine Pro we’re now seeing a 40% average consumption increase across all our clients over this time, which was forecast over a much longer period.  

Viewing habits have also been evolving. The younger generation doesn’t know what an EPG is. Outside of live events (which maintain their value) sport is no longer about sitting down on a Wednesday evening or Saturday afternoon and seeing what is on the sports channels. It is now about cleverly curated content, be it highlights, lifestyle content, archive footage, best-ofs etc allowing the fan to fully immerse and lose themselves building extreme fan affinity to players and teams alike. None so passionate as sports fans – let’s give them what they want!

One other thing that many people ask me, is sports OTT going to aggregate again? The simple answer is, yes. But it won’t be on a domestic basis. What I think will emerge, as DAZN, Eleven, Amazon, Facebook and of course Google is showing, is the international aggregation of sports content. Viewers anywhere in the world will be able to subscribe or purchase on-demand any sports event, series, league of their choosing. But we are a long way from there yet, although niche sports OTT services continue to thrive.

On a personal note, at Magine Pro we were delighted to announce our new agreement with Endorphin and the Croatian Football Federation a few months ago. Magine Pro will be providing the exclusive end-to-end OTT solution, enabling fans both domestically and internationally to view one of the fastest-growing leagues on the planet, live and on-demand. Read more about the agreement here.

You can also check out some insightful thoughts from our VP of Engineering, Robert Olsson on the technical challenges of surfacing live sports content, and how we have solved them here. Our Director of Marketing also highlights the key features of a successful sports OTT service here.

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To find out more about our OTT platform and how we enable our partners to deliver live sporting events, linear and VOD content to audiences around the world head here. On our experience page, you can find out more about our partners and the OTT services they operate.

Get in touch with us if you would like to discuss how we can help you launch a successful sports OTT service or to demo our services.

You can also subscribe to the Magine Pro e-newsletter and/or follow us on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date with our latest news, partners and products.

 

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