Guest Post: Ben Warren is a 1st class honours graduate in Sports Marketing from the University of Northampton with a keen interest in digital innovation within UK and US sport.
Having experienced excellent figures at launch in the UK last month, Google’s latest offering has formed a partnership with the BT Sport platform. If other companies followed suit, could this promote more freedom in the way fans consume sport?
The Google Chromecast is small device that slots into any UK television set via a HDMI port, and allows users to ‘beam’ content from any device, such as a tablet or PC, to their set-top box. According to Gigaom.com, U.K. electronics retailer Currys sold a Chromecast every 4.5 seconds on launch day, leading to comparisons with the launch of the iPad.
BT Sport have clearly shown faith in the product, and believe that this could open up new sectors in the marketplace. Pete Oliver, managing director of BT’s Consumer Commercial and Marketing, said,
“Chromecast has been a tremendous success in the US and we feel it could take off in the UK as well. We are already delivering BT Sport via our App and we are seeing some impressive viewing figures, which demonstrates that customers appreciate this option.
“Customers with Chromecast will be able to enjoy the BT Sport App, which is free with broadband from BT, on a large screen, allowing customers to cast a Barclays Premier League match to their TV, rather than watching on a smaller screen. This helps us to deliver on our aim to bring the best quality sport to BT customers at affordable prices across a wide number of platforms and devices.”
That is clearly a crucial factor here, and with an RRP of £30, it is clear Google are doing everything to make this a tool in everyone’s household.
The main excitement from the consumer perspective should come from increased freedom and accessibility. With Sport being such a lucrative package for television companies, tight restrictions are often in place with services such as Sky Go and Virgin Anywhere. These companies limit the number of devices you can watch on, and often only allow device changes at specified intervals.
If these companies were to get on board with Chromecast, they would have to find a balance. Imagine having a mobile phone, for example, and beaming live Premier League action to any TV in proximity of the phone. Whether it be a friend’s house or a hotel room, one could replicate the traditional entertainment set-up at the touch of a button.
If the past is anything to go by, BT Sport may be the only company willing to take a plunge into the Chromecast pool. Although the user would need a subscription to the service, they could argue it would be taken advantage of. If they decide to use the technology, however, the avenues to consume sport may just become that little bit wider.