‘Aussies love up to six sports. We want to serve that’: Thinking big with Foxtel’s Kayo Sports

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When Foxtel launched its new over-the-top (OTT) streaming service, the industry was struck by the wealth of sports rights Kayo Sports was bringing to the table.

Billed as the latest challenger to ‘the Netflix of sports’ mantel by Foxtel’s chief executive Patrick Delany, the service will offer coverage of more than 50 sports, live and on demand, including cricket, The Australian Football League (AFL), the National Rugby League (NRL), as well as rights to the National Football League (NFL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA).

In addition, Kayo offers its consumers several features including split-screen viewing of up to four events on the one screen, a ‘spoiler-free’ mode for fans catching up, and the ability to just watch the best bits with ‘key moments’. Powered by Fox Sports Australia, ESPN and BeIN, viewers also have access to the linear content  without the need for a cable television package.

To find out how Fox has brought together multiple sports into one neat package, SportsPro spoke to Kayo’s chief executive Julian Ogrin to shed some light on how Australian sports consumption is changing and the new sports streaming service’s plans.

What was the idea behind the name ‘Kayo’ and why does it stand out in the market?

Kayo is the vernacular for knockout. It’s a punchy four-letter, two-syllable word that is very in line with digital, challenger brands with a clear link to sport. We tested over 100 names and this resonated the best with sports fans.

Our brand campaign has a distant look and feel and is led by the new generation of Aussie superstars – including Ben Simmons, Stephanie Gilmore, Ash Barty, Latrell Mitchell and Patrick Cripps. These campaigns use both well-known and up and coming athletes who showcase the Kayo personality.

The campaign creative uses black and white imagery with pops of colour to draw the consumer’s eye towards their team’s kit. This image treatment hasn’t been used before in a brand campaign layer to our knowledge, as traditionally you would see full colour imagery in the sports marketing landscape.

How do you foresee the Kayo service evolving alongside Foxtel Now and Fox’s other sports products? And how do you avoid subscriber cannibalisation across platforms?

Kayo targets streamers – the convenience generation – who want to watch what they want, on their terms. The thing that makes Kayo unique is the depth and breadth of its content along with the ability to personalise the experience and watch what you want, how and when you want to watch it.

It is sports streamed, on your terms. Kayo is about providing a service that fans want. We listen and evolve based on customer feedback. You will see constant updates and enhancements, and plenty of exciting initiatives in 2019.

Among those sports featured, AFL, NRL and cricket are surely Kayo’s crown jewels. How important is it that Kayo is able to provide a wide variety of streamed national and international sports content in one place?

Australians passionately follow three – and often up to six – sports and we know they want them all in the one place. Whilst our offering is anchored by the big sports we know sports fans want to follow all their favourite sports, including the ‘long-tail’. That’s why having over 50 sports from Australia and overseas, ranging from the Aussie football codes to action sports like big wave surfing, is key to our offering.

We have the ability to surface more content, and we are seeing fans wanting more of the long-tail of sport which we can serve to them. We can also enhance the viewing experience through surfacing-related content around the live offering to keep fans on the platform and engaged longer.

Kayo Sports offers coverage of more than 50 sports live and on demand

Looking at the micro level, how do you plan to enhance the unique user experience across a wide option of sports?

By continually testing and implementing new features and enhancing current ones, plus serving up more content around the live offering of sport, we are listening to our customers and using these insights to make improvements in real-time.

Across our beta launch we had over 100 iterations to the service to ensure it delivered the best experience possible. We continue to listen and action this feedback. We certainly will be releasing more game-changing features, which we will chat more about at the SportsPro OTT Asia summit in March.

Finally, how does the Australian sports consumer market differ from its global peers? Are we seeing a new type of sports streaming capability coming to fruition?

We know how much Aussies love their sport, following up to six sports passionately. We also know they wanted more from their favourite sport, more highlights, news and more ways to watch. That’s why a multi-sport streaming service with live and on demand content and ground-breaking features, that enable fans to watch how they want, sets Kayo apart from other sports streaming services.

Julian Ogrin is speaking at the SportsPro OTT Summit Asia, which is taking place in Singapore from 27th to 28th March. For more information, click here.


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