OTT sports growth expected
January 25, 2018
By Chris Forrester
Delegates at a Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) event in London (‘Post CES Review’) heard a consensus from panellists that viewers could expect a growing presence in the number of sport and new sub-genre services offered by an expanding number of OTT operators.
Peter Bellamy (SVP at OTT operator NeuLion) told delegates that because of the relatively low barriers to entry that OTT now presented new ‘direct-to-viewer’ transmission models would emerge. He explained that NeuLion was already offering highly-sophisticated options within its coverage of mainstream – and some highly niche – sports.
Bellamy stated that he was not surprised at these growth opportunities. NeuLion was already offering more than 300 ‘channels’ covering some 63,000 events annually. “Sub-niche, highly specific genres will be on offer. There will be more disruption, more OTT entrants.” He added that the deep pockets of OTT players such as Facebook, Amazon and Netflix would increasingly be visible in winning broadcast rights for sports rights.
The panellists agreed that UHD dominated the recent CES in Las Vegas, and despite the rain and electrical black-outs there was much to see, not least LG’s rollable 4K OLED screen, and Samsung’s ‘The Wall’ assembly of 4K units.
Dolby’s Simon Gauntlett (Director/Imaging Standards & Technology) said this year’s CES was all about evolution in video and audio. He picked as his notable CES events the news of the adoption of UHD by lower-cost TV manufacturer Vestel, as well as by a slew of Chinese set-builders (TCL, Hisense, Skyworth and others) making UHD sets increasingly affordable. “UHD is a growing to be a key differentiator.”
However, the panel, which included TiVo’s Charles Dawes (Snr Director/International Marketing) and Colin McCallum (Sales Director Technology/Media & Telecoms, I H S Markit), did not look too favourably on the prospects for 8K, despite the introduction by Sony and others of demo receivers. Gauntlett said that viewers wold need to be sitting extremely close to an 8K display to actually see the pixels and visually resolve the image benefits. “And how 8K signals will actually be economically transmitted to homes is still a challenge”.