ARE YOU READY FOR THIS D2C PREDICTION?
When a Linkedinfluencer with over 93,000 followers publishes his predictions for the year, you have to take notice. So when he says that d2c broadcasting for the sports industry is just around the corner………..
OK so they weren’t the exact words of the pre-eminent John Battelle in his recent Predictions 2016 post but number 12 (on a list of 12 but hopefully not representative of it’s importance!) was that “sports will unbundle” with a particular reference to Comcast’s MLB broadcasts. The point John makes is that he’d rather buy the individual games he wants, in a digital format and no doubt at a significant mark up, than commit to the traditional cable bundle.
But I’m taking that prediction and fast-forwarding it by, I don’t know, maybe 3 or 4 years, and saying that these toe-in-the-water movements we’re seeing by the NFL with their live streams are just the pre-cursor to where we will ultimately end up - with rightsholders being in a positon to select whether they broadcast d2c on their own platforms, or go down the traditional route of the broadcast rights fee.
In reality what might happen is a mix-and-match to ensure rightsholders get both optimum revenue and maximum distribution. For example, key territories may continue to use the broadcaster rights-fee model, but some of the smaller more niche markets may see a streaming pay-per-view or subscription model in place. This will be particularly relevant where there’s market interest, but not of a significant enough level to generate substantial broadcaster interest and matching fees.
Regardless of which way the d2c sports streaming model goes, one thing’s for certain - rightsholders will be in a stronger position to consider their options and negotiate contract terms if they have a deep and rich database of profiled fans, regularly responding to their multi-channel campaigns, highly engaged with their communications, and converting as a result of the CTAs (calls-to-action) put in place by their favourite team, league, event or club.
It’s one of the guiding principles of the work we do at Winners - that every email you send today, every piece of data you secure and warehouse, will lead you to this utopian scenario where, whatever the size of your sports property, you have the ability to leverage your global fanbase to secure maximum broadcaster revenues. And along the way, you’ll see increased ticket and merchandise sales, sponsors with relevance to your fan base increasing the value of your fees, improved retention levels in your participation programmes, coaches progressing from level 1 to level 2, and more volunteers stepping forward with their hands up.
Who wouldn’t want to achieve that?