The International Hockey Federation is to terminate its five-year deal with live streaming services company MyCujoo as it enters into a new ten-year agreement with content and multi-screen video company Nagra to deliver a new direct-to-consumer platform and digital products for the federation.
The FIH began a five-year agreement with MyCujoo, better known for its football-focused streaming platform, in early 2019 to create and launch the FIH.live digital platform.
However, a long-term agreement with Nagra, which has made its name in the industry through its anti-piracy services, has now been announced.
At the time of the launch of FIH.live, the Lausanne-based federation said the platform would offer live streaming of all FIH competitions where geo-restrictions didn’t apply and the chance for players and teams to upload their own content to the site.
MyCujoo provided its technology for no cost under an innovative deal where it agreed to share the platform’s advertising revenues with the FIH. It represented the first significant step away from football for MyCujoo.
The two parties have now agreed ‘amicably’ to terminate the contract on 31 May this year.
SportBusiness understands that the federation believes Nagra is better placed to provide an end-to-end suite of digital products that more closely align with its commercial ambitions.
FIH chief executive Thierry Weil told SportBusiness: “We had, or we have, currently an OTT platform and we have to be extremely thankful to MyCujoo for their collaboration. What we have done together with them and what they have done for us in starting the OTT service at the beginning of 2019 was a great experience for us and gave us a lot of key learnings in knowing our fans.
“But we found out that fans are requesting more than the live games, to be honest, and therefore having Nagra on board is good because we are talking about streaming live games, but we are also talking about more editorial content on the platform between the games, sharing the match data we collect with our fans, interaction with fans and getting to know what fans want from the FIH a little better.”
Weil said Nagra would provide an IT solution that would enable federations, national associations and clubs to register hockey players and fans, so the FIH could arrive at a better understanding of the global hockey community.
Mobile app and website overhaul
Under the 10-year deal, Nagra will also develop an FIH app and overhaul the FIH website, to arrive at a suite of harmonised digital products that will work across web, mobile and smart TVs. Weil said the FIH is likely to rename the FIH.live streaming service to signal the evolution of the product.
The new platforms will include live matches, replays, highlights, videos, archives, news, articles, live scores, results, and statistics, as well as a social sharing functionality where fans and participants can capture and share clips online.
Weil remarked: “The major goal is to provide one platform for hockey fans where they know this is the home of hockey, where they can get the information they are looking for and they can watch games if they are not geoblocked.”
He added that the commercial model for the Nagra deal was ‘more or less the same’ as the one entered into with MyCujoo whereby the latter provided its technology services for free in return for a share of advertising revenues.
The platform will start as a free service, but the long-term plan is for users to make a ‘premium payment’ for the service once it has built its video archive and refined its content capabilities.
Better known for its anti-piracy products, Swiss-based video technology company Nagra, part of the Kudelski Group, also provides OTT services for clients including La Liga.
Jean-Luc Jezouin, senior vice-president, business development at Nagra, suggested the company would treat the deal with the FIH as a commercial partnership, with ‘ambitious targets in the long and medium term’ and not just to showcase its capabilities to other federations.
He told SportBusiness: “In a sense we are a business and technology partner of the FIH.
“Because of the position of the FIH as one of the top summer Olympic federations and the fact that it has a lot of participants and it is not very well-known worldwide, other than by people who play it, there is a huge potential for development.
“I think this will probably be unique for the moment in the area of sport that a federation will have a complete view of the people who have a membership in the clubs of their sport.”
MyCujoo launches software service
It is thought that relations between the FIH and MyCujoo remain positive and that the door has been left open for possible future co-operation.
The end of the deal by no means marks the end of the company’s ambitions outside of football. Yesterday (Wednesday) the company announced the launch of MyCujoo Live Services, a new ‘software as a service’ product to be licensed to clients from across sport to create live video experiences.
In what represents a different approach to that taken with the FIH, MyCujoo Live Services is a ‘plug and play’ live streaming solution to sit on an existing web or app platform. It is targeted at sports organisations but also companies in the music, education, entertainment and e-commerce sectors.
Pedro Presa, chief executive at MyCujoo, said: “We built MyCujoo Live Services because we believe all organisations should benefit from the same outstanding technology that powers the MyCujoo platform. We have listened to market demand, which has only been heightened by the Covid pandemic, and have decided to open our technology to help others deliver the same value to their customers.”
Patrick Plaatje, director of technology, added: “We’ve had over 3,500 streamers worldwide use our streaming tools, from local clubs to Champions League winners to large federations. No matter the location, the industry, or size of organisation, our tools provide them with an integrated live streaming solution which empowers them to create the most engaging experiences for their audiences. We believe this makes our new product truly unique.”