The sports and media landscape is significantly changing. TV is losing share, whilst OTT is hot. We discuss 6 main trends in sports media and broadcasting.
Current sports media landscape is changing
The times that we only watched sports on TV are long gone. Sports rights holders, social media and tech giants, sports broadcasters and content producers all want to maximize their revenue potential. It means the current landscape is to be disrupted big time! In fact this is already the case. We are noticing big changes and more is to follow. However, as always, it is difficult to forecast the end result. We discuss the six main trends, some which are no brainers and some which are less obvious.
1. Traditional TV operators under pressure. OTT is gaining share.
Excuse me! OTT? What’s OTT? We are getting a bit technical here. For you media guys, this is bread and butter but for most sports fans (which are my readers) it is less known. Well OTT is “over-the-top,” a term used for content being delivered via the internet, without requiring users to subscribe to a cable or a pay-TV service. In short OTT is streaming.
Ok, that’s out of the way now. Why are these OTT guys gaining share? Couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s the change in generations. New generations like GenZ and Gen Alpha don’t even know what TV is. Yes, I am exaggerating a bit, but really the internet is what counts for them. When did you see them watch a TV show or broadcast for the last time? With the older (TV grown up) generation slowly dying and the new generations growing with every newborn infant, it is a matter of time really! TV will fade out, if it’s not sooner, than certainly later.
Why then is it going so slowly where sports is concerned? Well let’s introduce the rights holders! These are the guys that are selling the sportscontent they own. Many rights holders have maximized revenues so far by closing long term contracts with super rich media networks. So far these networks have preferred to sell sports in packages to the end users (mainly on TV). A lot of these contracts will expire soon (see table below) and are then up for renegotation. With loads of new parties on the table and TV having lost share, it’s gonna be interesting times.
2. Increased competition for rights will lead to higher prices. Many parties on the table.
Ok, we dealt with traditional TV! That was the easy part. TV will lose share. Now for the difficult one! Who then will win the battle for content? The problem is that there are so many formats and distribution channels present and emerging. They are all going for content, as, in the end, that is what counts.
Will it be the social media networks broadcasting live sports events to attract viewers and leveraging their platforms? Will it be the pure video on demand players? Will it be the sports federations, leagues and clubs starting their own platforms (for example f1 tv pro)? Will it be the content generators aiming on becoming the Netflix of sports ( the Discoveries of this world buying themselves into the Olympics, golf and cycling)?
Will it be Amazon with its Twitch subsidiary going for interactive lifestreaming (already a major form of entertainment in E-sports)? Or will it be the traditional TV networks venturing out and leveraging their content into new media, independently or, more likely, with experienced parties. It is anybody’s guess! In any case, the battle for content will intensify with all these parties competing. And as a result this will undoubtedly raise prices for rights/content.
3. New forms of content might become popular
A GenZ’er has different preferences compared with his parents, let alone his grandparents. These generations are still expecting content, the way it has always been distributed and produced. But remember, GenZ is the video generation! GenZ is not interested in long live broadcasted games. GenZ is long gone before a game is finished.
They like highlights or funny wacky content (Dude Perfect is just a perfect example of content they like), they like background stories and interviews with the stars and rolemodels they associate with. Some of them love to watch Twitch, where selfmade commentators interactively stream their live comments on sports events to the world. Also expect formats to become a lot faster. GenZ’ attention span is getting shorter and shorter and hence content should be interesting and fast and furious.One thing is for sure, content is going to change and will not consist of only traditional games any longer. There will be much more variety going forward.
See also: How GenZ will change the world of sports
4. New platforms will come to the fore!
As it will become much easier for everyone (including you and me) to produce new content, the number of sports (related)productions (background, funny, add-on etc) will rise enormously as we just discussed. GenZ and Gen Alpha will play an important role in the transition as they will be the main consumers and producers and will easily navigate through this mountain of generated content. They want to produce their own videos (tiktok!) and show these to the world. Athletes and sports clubs are also expected to become more active in content production and aggregating this content on new platforms. Players Tribune is a great example of what to expect
5. New technology such as drones, Artificial Intelligence and cloud based video delivery will have a big impact on the way content is generated
Drones will have a big impact on the way sports content is being presented. Why? Because they are able to fly to places where people can’t. Sofar, camera positions have always been static. Not too long ago the flycam was introduced, a camera attached to a wire that could deliver a great view from above. However, with drones we may enter an entirely new era in broadcasting.
Drones are able to fly with the action, offering some amazing angles (which the flycam can’t) as the video above clearly shows. It might still take some time because of safety regulations, but it will be there! This way sports fans will be treated with a much better viewing experience than ever before. From an outdoor perspective, events will be covered much better with the assistance of drones. Just think a minute of what the possibilities are. Watching live sports no doubt will never be as it was before. I can’t wait!
Also interesting to read: 10 ways drones will impact sports
Sports media will be hugely impacted by Artificial Intelligence. Not everybody realises it, but it will impact sports media and content big time. What to think of automated journalism? Yes, it can already be done! Sports articles can be written by AI platforms. I challenge you to spot the difference!
But there is much more. Think about the timing and content of advertisements shown during a game. AI will determine this based on for example crowd excitement levels. The latter also will determine which highlights will be broadcasted and which not. Based on the events on the field, AI systems connected to drones can be used to choose the right camera angle to display on the viewers’ screens. This can results in some breathtaking views. In short AI will provide you with the perfect picture!
Also interesting to read: How AI is impacting the world of sports
Cloud based computing
With cloud based services high-quality video content can be produced at a relatively low price. Content can be delivered immediately (real time) across the web and it is hell of a lot more efficient and cheaper than before. What does this mean? It means that smaller events and sports can now also benefit from lower production costs. It means editing can take place at any time anywhere with no loss of quality. It means different people can access files all at the same time and work with it. It means advertising campaigns can be quickly set set up and rolled out etc. It will have a huge impact on production.
6. Advertising will see big changes
With the switch from TV to streaming, advertising will also change. GenZ, the current consumers of streaming services, does not like advertising. They don’t want to be interrupted when watching content. It means that advertisers have to find alternative ways to promote their goods and services. Expect therefore more in game advertising, such as on the field or on jerseys or in-car (car racing) advertising etc etc. This way advertising is not interfering the viewing experience.
Additionally, expect advertising to become more personalised and even local. Why? Because in contrast to TV, OTT platforms can much better measure consumer behaviour and preferences. They know who you are based on your viewing patterns.
Concluding, the traditional media landscape is on the verge of major changes. Their business models will be disrupted big time, whether it is the way of delivery, the content, alternative players, production or advertising. Everything will be very different in 5-10 years time!
Also interesting to read: 10 striking predictions about the future of sports