In part one of my blog, I talked about creating immersive sports experiences in order to attract more viewers, deepen engagement and extract more value from sports content. As more and more viewers turn towards mobile screens to watch video and access their favorite TV content, OTT might just prove to be a really viable way to do it. It can be a powerful tool to expand your geographical reach or reuse and repurpose content. The opportunities are numerous, however, the capabilities of the underlying technology have to be considered.
With OTT, media companies can develop and plan their content across screens and devices as one complete viewing experience, instead of looking at each and every delivery method individually. Complex sports events such as the Olympics are a good example of how content rights owners can use OTT. The decision as to which sports will be broadcast live on linear channels is no longer as difficult to make as before. With the ability to show content on a second and even third screen, the main consideration becomes more a case of establishing which screen will provide the best possible viewer experience and engage with the viewer in the most convenient way. For example, the main linear channel might broadcast team sports for the large TV screen where resolution and detail are key components and viewers want a 4K/UHD experience. Whereas sports like athletics or gymnastics might be available only over mobile devices, enhanced with relevant data and commentary that is available at viewers’ fingertips without the need to move their eyes from the screen.
With the support of an OTT platform, it is possible to create temporary channels, for example, focusing on a particular sport and showcasing live games and sports highlights, additional interviews and even flashbacks to previous Olympics. The reuse and repurposing of content creates more and new monetization opportunities. Content owners can create flexible and dynamic content packages, for instance, subscription-based access only to particular sports, particular live events or just “the best of…” packages.
Additionally OTT creates opportunities to distribute unused or less popular content. One example is how UEFA handled the broadcast of certain games during EURO 2016 in Spain and Venezuela. UEFA offered fans in these countries the chance to live stream five specific games during the tournament. The approach complemented the output of UEFA’s broadcast partners (Mediaset and Meridiano TV), which had the rights to broadcast the rest of the games.
Nevertheless, to be able to execute on all of this, media companies need to ensure that their OTT platforms enable them to publish various forms of content without expending more effort and ensure that the content management process is effectively integrated with their product, customer management and billing systems. This will allow for better segmentation of viewers and content, for instance, offering enriched content with sports graphics and commentary only for premium viewers or completely ad funded content for less popular sports.
Having the content available across all screens may not be enough to guarantee that viewers will tune in or tap in to watch. A new approach is needed to attract attention and bring audiences to the desired screens. With all the content already available in an OTT platform and managed from a single screen, it is now easier than ever before to create clips and teasers that can be immediately shared on social networks, published to YouTube or used to notify viewers directly about the moments they have missed. This functionality can become a powerful tool to make highlights available to a larger or a targeted audience and drive them to the application showing the live events as they are happening. It is an approach that has been used in linear television for many years through the creation of trailers and short form content; but the advantages of OTT are the immediacy and ease with which viewers can access the content live.
However, this puts an extra requirement on media companies – to be able to create content clips as the events unfold and monitor social media activity and viewer preferences and behaviors in real time. While the former depends largely on production and editorial capabilities, the latter can be facilitated to a larger extent by using the data available in the OTT platform. Data which can identify the most viewed content, the average duration of viewing, types of devices used and even location, can prove to be a valuable source of insight in making sure that the highlight clips are relevant for the audience.
So whether media companies will focus on creating the experience or improving audiences’ access to their content, there are many ways to satisfy the growing number of content-hungry mobile-native viewers and turn them into fans of your media brand.
Stan Dimitrov, Product Marketing Manager, Online Video Services and Sports Graphics