Advanced Television

Facebook wanted ‘free’ Champions League

October 11, 2017

By Chris Forrester

Facebook has asked football’s UEFA media bosses permission to live stream the Champions League and Europa League games into certain markets and territories which do not have TV rights for the matches.

In particular, it seems that Facebook had in mind nations such as India and Colombia.

However, the social media giant has not placed any cash onto the negotiating table. The idea was that exposure of the games into the targeted markets would add to the reach and influence for UEFA outside Europe. UEFA has declined the offer.

A note to clients from equity analysts at Exane/BNPP says: “UEFA cannot be seen giving away rights for free when it has a premium product for which other broadcast partners pay substantial sums. UEFA now finds itself in the same precarious situation as publishers when it comes to assessing the platform dilemma of reach versus monetisation.”

“We believe that that content rights – be it premium sports or exclusive entertainment content such as Hollywood movies and TV shows – will continue to appreciate. This puts pressure on broadcaster’s bottom line at the same time as they lose viewership market share with consumers accessing content on OTT services like Netflix. All this only adds to the continuing pressure we see on the traditional broadcasters.”

The bank’s note continues: “Netflix’s and Amazon’s growth and cost advantage create a virtuous circle that will see content budgets rise further, in turn fuelling future growth. For FTA broadcasters the equation works in reverse: declining traditional TV viewing hours will put pressure on ad revenues and constrain future content investment. Local and own-language content provide some protection, but Netflix and Amazon are rapidly increasing local language investment, with potentially a lot more to come.”



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