The OTT revolution is changing the way fans consume sports content and their expectations of the sports media experience. Here, Felix Blank, director of digital platforms at Sportradar, reflects on the different ways data is both enhancing that experience and opening new commercial and revenue opportunities.
How is the video content landscape evolving and what is the direction of travel?
From working with various rights-holders across the sports media landscape, what we’re seeing is that video content is fast becoming the most important and fastest growing aspect of digital media consumption.
That’s partly because of how content is consumed in the modern world – on smartphones and tablets via social and bite-size media – but it’s also partly down to the multiple forms of video content available. Where once you had a fairly one-size-fits-all approach to video content, now rights-holders are using short-form, long-form and ultra-short-form to engage with audiences.
That’s not to say there aren’t still challenges for rights-holders to tackle however. We help clients with various issues that need to be dealt with, including production and live streaming, platform management and marketing as well as monetisation with the help of Sportradar’s ad:s service.
What is the role of OTT in this and why is it important?
OTT forms an incremental part of this evolving landscape and grows in importance in line with the wider market, as it gives opportunities to different types of rights-holders. We work with big and small content owners to maximise their investment and drive fan engagement.
Easy accessibility and the availability of content is one of the key advantages of OTT, as is the opportunity for direct monetisation and user analytics.
How does the integration of data in OTT deliver constant enhanced fan engagement?
As a company with a history centred around data, we believe high-quality, accurate information can enhance almost anything, and that’s definitely the case with Sportradar OTT. The integration of sports data – either directly within a screen or around the perimeter of the video player – makes for an improved and more rounded viewing experience.
This keeps users and fans engaged for longer around the event or match in question and also helps create more consumption data from the user as well as increased opportunities for monetisation. That goes for upselling products and services but also cross-selling if you think about inserting other e-commerce options.
A big part of that monetisation option, we believe, is the opportunity for bookmakers to target their advertising and focus on key audiences. The display and visualisation of data within a video environment goes hand in hand with the promotion of betting opportunities and, as a company at the intersection of both betting and sports media, we’re ideally positioned to help with both aspects.
In what ways this can be monetised to benefit rights-holders?
Monetisation is obviously a key pillar of any content strategy for rights-holders and we generally see it split into two primary groups.
Firstly, you have the more straightforward or direct model of monetising via user subscriptions, although this can be a tricky issue given the amount of free content that’s available. This often requires providing exclusive or in-house content that no other outlet can provide. A lot of advertising and sponsorship opportunities would fall into that direct category also.
The second, more indirect way, is to look into cross-sell opportunities like merchandising and ticketing, where you’re effectively monetising another area of the business with the help of OTT.
How can data enhance the effectiveness of sponsorship campaigns and betting offerings?
Data can be quite a catch-all term but, in its various forms, it can differentiate an offering as well as serving as a way of making informed, targeted decisions.
If we take sports data and statistics, that is a crucial aspect of Sportradar OTT and it’s a major factor in driving engagement for rights-holders. That keeps fans on pages and apps for longer and makes it much more likely that they’ll place a bet or buy a product.
From there, we use market and user data via ad:s to help bookmakers and other advertisers better target their spend. Using information about a user’s viewing habits and preferences, we can help bookmakers place their advertising collateral in the best places so they reach who they need to reach and so that audiences get adverts specifically related to them.