Advanced Television

NBC Sports, Sky Deutschland and RTVE: Hear from the broadcast experts on the future of OTT

October 11, 2018

With the SportsPro OTT Summit in Madrid drawing near, SportsPro has undertaken a series of interviews with a selection of the top-level industry voices featuring on stage at Meliá Castilla.

Focusing on broadcasters, social media leaders, disrupters and industry experts: these roundtable discussions will offer a preview to the kind of insights on offer to delegates in November.

For the first in the OTT Speaker Series, SportsPro posed questions to Yolanda Garcia Cuevas, director of sports at RTVE; Hans Gabbe, Sky Deutschland’s senior vice president, sports rights and commercialisation; and Eric Black, chief technology officer at NBC Sports Group.

What will OTT services look like in three years?

Hans Gabbe: Like Netflix, they will have personalised user interfaces, content search and offerings. But most importantly, and different to non-sports offerings, OTT sport must deliver various ancillary rights and data attached to the core live streaming to satisfy the customers. The live streaming product is similar as to traditional distribution means, but OTT in sport has to deliver experiences. This means social media, live interaction with customers but also gaming and fantasy games on top of the core live product. Finally, OTT offerings are fragmented by rights holders and federations, therefore an aggregator is needed to create the best of sport offerings.

Eric Black: Based on history, what we are seeing is continued dramatic growth in OTT connected devices. I would expect to see higher bit rates, higher quality, and the adoption of 4K HDR technology on a much broader scale. Overall I would expect to see a continued increase in engagement time on all platforms.

Yolanda Garcia Cuevas: There will be a development on this side, acquiring minor but also prime content to offer as a package with the aim of attracting a complete audience. Once this happens, I think OTT services will start making choices in the interest of their audiences after studying requests and consumption.

What do you see as the best innovations that have come out of OTT?

EB: Some of the best innovations that we are seeing are multi-cam, multi-platform. It’s what we do for some of our motorsports coverage, where we can blend our industry-leading simulcast along with in-car cameras based off of customer choice to deliver a more engaging experience that the consumer controls.

YCG: As OTT services don’t need to look for huge audiences, they can broadcast minority events that don’t move big numbers of people but have more loyal targets.

Also, as web-based formats have cheaper productions, the OTT services can innovate in terms of point of view, for example letting users choose which camera is better for them depending on their interests.

HG: Easy and direct access to people without having a subscription and not bound to a 24-month subscription; as well as a way to test pay-offerings with all flexibility necessary to terminate the subscription. Additionally, OTT gives minor sports the option they did not have in the past of bringing their sport to the public without the need of a broadcaster anymore to reach their fans.

In a perfect world, what does an OTT rights package look like?

YCG: This is a big issue when you take into account ordinary broadcasting. Everyone is looking for web rights but no one wants to pay the same fees as TV. When you pay for rights exclusivity, it is one of the main reasons why you are paying.

HG: The package should give the OTT owner the right to exploit the event programming in full and exclusively, to distinguish its product from traditional broadcasters and to provide a reason to buy. Also, and most importantly, the right to bundle its offering with others and have no restrictions if the OTT service is on a Smart TV or just an IP/Mobil offering. On top of that, it needs to provide access to all ancillary rights and the possibility to create content beside the live core product – similar to TV. It should also include the right to create a unique user experience; with data-driven viewing experiences, either live or delayed; interaction with fans; social media integration; etc.

EB: We want to make sure that technology doesn’t hinder how the business is packaged, so we are preparing all the different models, whether it is direct-to-consumer, pay-per-view or TV Everywhere. We want to ensure that the technology doesn’t get in the way of how the business wants to operate.

Who do you see as leaders in the sector and why?

EB: I think NBC Sports Group and Playmaker Media have been leaders in the space with over 30,000 events per year, including the Super Bowl, Olympics and World Cup. We are really excited about our partnership on PGA Tour Live and bringing more enhanced coverage to US consumers.

YCG: Many OTT worldwide leaders are positioning themselves in the market, but starting in some countries, not with worldwide content. I see them as testing more than having a global strategy.

What OTT Summit session are you most looking forward to?

HG: ‘Driving fan engagement, through innovative OTT experiences’ from Turner.

EB: ‘Inside Sky Sports streaming and OTT strategy’.

Yolanda Garcia Cuevas, Hans Gabbe and and Eric Black are speaking at the OTT Summit, which is taking place at Meliá Castilla in madrid from 28th to 29th November, more information here

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