The revolution will not be televised: How Onefootball and Sportradar are changing OTT

By Felix Blank – Director, Digital Platforms, International

Few industries have been altered quite so drastically by the age of online as the sports media business.

The growth of social, on-demand content and increased consumer choice has meant broadcasters and publishers can no longer dictate to audiences what will be shown. In fact, through viewing habits and user data, it’s actually the other way around.

In an increasingly splintered online landscape, it’s down to broadcasters of all sizes to tap into user insights and ensure the right packages for the right price.

Onefootball are one of Europe’s pioneers when it comes to investing in, and understanding, this trend following deals with Sky Deutschland and Eleven Sports to show matches from various leagues via a pay-per-view, live streaming partnership.

The prospect of not only streaming live matches, including DFB-Pokal and 2. Bundesliga action, via their app but also allowing an increasingly young audience to pick and choose which games they want to watch is proving an attractive one.

In contrast to lengthy, costly subscriptions for various leagues and competitions, it’s easy to see why more granular and convenient payment plans are proving popular.

“It’s our response to the ever-changing media landscape characterised by rights fragmentation and expensive subscription models,” said Onefootball CEO Lucas von Cranach following the announcement of his company’s partnership with Sky Deutschland and Eleven Sports.

He added: “Modern football fans want to consume live content in a more flexible, easily accessible way. They want to consume it when they want, where they want and how they want – and all of this at a reasonable price.”

The move from Onefootball has shades of the NBA’s hugely successful League Pass, allowing fans to pick and choose the content that suits them, fostering direct-to-fan relationships and growing engagement for the sport in the process.

However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to OTT. Different sports and outlets will have varying needs, while the game plan at the start of a journey into OTT will most likely change course over the ensuing years and months.

Von Cranach continues: “The industry needs to adapt to the evolving consumer behaviour. It’s about understanding and anticipating the highly sophisticated needs of younger generations – that’s the key.”

Onefootball is driven by Sportradar OTT, which in turn is driven by data – with these insights able to ensure improved user experience via gamification aspects and overlays while also informing the rights holder about how best to financially leverage their digital ecosystem.

By using reliable, quality sporting data, you can introduce statistical overlays to complement the user experience or opt to add in gamification such as quizzes and polls to keep viewers engaged without them having to leave the platform.

When you combine that with insights derived from user data, you have the recipe for a truly successful OTT solution. Being able to fine tune both your output and your monetisation planning based on viewing habits has already proven a game changer.

Linear broadcasts clearly still have a role to play in modern media consumption but as a medium it lacks the clarity and audience insight that OTT brings. Whether it’s how content fared or the best route to monetise it, OTT platforms in their various guises give rights holders and publishers a guiding light in their video strategy.

This is not only a win for the content producers, who see what their customers want and how they should best make it profitable, it’s also a positive for the user, whose viewing habits are directly influencing what content they see.

We’re increasingly seeing more and more rights holders, especially clients of ours, getting in tune with their audiences using data-driven insights and Onefootball, more than many, look set to reap the benefits of listening to the market and heeding the direction that it’s going.

In a crowded playing field that’s becoming increasingly complex and disparate, with various players eager to make their mark, it’s all about offering fans uncomplicated access to the content they want, for a fair price, using a scalable and flexible infrastructure to allow for consistent fine-tuning and improvement.

Onefootball’s bold, fan-focused strategy exemplifies why they are seen as one of the most forward-thinking players in the industry and why it’s a real privilege to have Sportradar OTT providing the technological foundation for that growth.

This article first featured in fcbusiness 

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