Analyst: SVoD sports ‘could work’

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A Netflix-style SVoD platform for live sports can exist, but faces high hurdles, according to analysis from GlobalData.

Live sports are an essential part of any pay-TV package, and are one of the key reasons why many people have not yet cut the cord and gone exclusively OTT. However, if a Netflix-style sports-oriented SVoD service came along, cord-cutting could rise even more, said GlobalData, a data and analytics company.

Joe Dimmock, Technology Analyst at GlobalData commented, “Acquiring live sports rights is the biggest obstacle such a service faces. For many years, live sports have been a cornerstone of programming for many telcos and broadcasters due to their ability to attract large audiences and high ad revenues – and these companies are willing to pay premium prices to keep live sports.

“Snatching popular sports rights away from pay-TV broadcasters will be a challenge for any SVoD platform, but the pay-off would likely be well worth the investment.”

There are also digital juggernauts SVoD providers would face. Social media giants Facebook and Twitter have both invested in live sports and have included sports as part of their own growth strategy. At the same time, the ever-growing Amazon Prime Video has also displayed an interest in sports, with investments in the Premier League in the UK and the NFL in the US as recent demonstrations of its live sport intentions.

GlobalData expects SVoD providers in the US to also have to contend with the Disney machine due to the media giant’s ESPN+ SVoD service. Any SVoD platform would struggle to battle it out against this powerful brand, its well-established customer base and its deep pockets.

Dimmock concluded: “If global sports SVoD services want to really scale their businesses and become the Netflix of live sports, they need to find a way to attract the world’s biggest and most popular sports. The investment would be well worth it to encourage viewers to cut the cord.”


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