Next week sees our latest event, the newly branded Digital Sports London, which will become a regular feature on the meet-ups scene over the coming months. This month we’ll be talking about the impact of digital media on live sports events and it’s proving to be a hot topic at the moment.
This week News Corp and Perform have come out saying that rights-holders are holding back growth of sports content consumption on mobile and the internet. The claim is that they are in effect shooting themselves in the foot by not getting the maximum value for their rights because of their traditional stance on the packaging of deals.
This opinion is one that’s been highlighted at the recent TV Sports Marketing webinar by Sport Business. Simon Greenberg (Global Head of Right at News Corp) and Oliver Slipper (joint-Chief Executive of Perform) were very frank with what they thought was happening. Greenberg said;
“I’ve read rights-holders talking about how they are embracing digital. Well, I’m not sure they really are, I don’t think that they fully understand it. You are never going to embrace digital properly if you keep linking it to live rights. It’s a completely separate package of rights on its own.”
The argument is that if digital rights are sold separately then specialist digital operators would be able to bid for them without having to rely on the whim on the live broadcaster and what they wanted to do with their rights. This would lead to a rise in the value of the mobile and internet rights, whilst the main TV rights would at least hold their value. Slipper stated;
“The split that needs to happen if a sport wants to ensure that its content is consumed and its rights are monetised to the absolute maximum is splitting the clips away from the live – you just do not want your live rights-holder warehousing clip rights and not expanding the maximum reach of those products.”
This is from two companies who have a want and need to get hold of these rights to help grow their own audiences, thus have a vested interest. News Corp have, from this season, started showing game highlights on their pay-wall sites for the Sun and Times newspapers, whilst Perform have long worked with the likes of Football League Interactive and numerous betting sites to provide live content.
The point though is a valid one. We have seen the use of video clips in almost-real-time being used by the NBA, NFL and Sky Sports to create excitement around live events (driving to TV) and also monetised through sponsorship using platforms such as Grabyo and SnappyTV. It is only a matter of time before it becomes the norm here in the UK and elsewhere but with the main sports still prioritising the tying up multi-year deals with media companies, the question is when would it even be possible?
For the full talk you can download the webinar at http://www.sportbusiness.com/webinar-digital-sport-new-platforms-new-behaviours-new-models?src=1310WT26DXX08
This is certainly an area that will come up next week when we speak to the likes of Wimbledon, Sky Sports and Arsenal. It will be fascinating to hear which side of the fence they sit on this one.