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“Focusing too much on delivering live can be detrimental”

A MediaTech 360 panel considers what the future holds for OTT broadcasters and sports rights

MediaTech 360 has hosted a panel looking at what the future holds for OTT broadcasters and sports rights.

Big rights packages are still critical for engagement, and digital content is being put out by individual federations and clubs that just would not have been available five years ago, according to Rowan de Pomerai, professional services director EMEA, Ooyala.

“With the increase of sports rights, manufacturers need better storytelling tools and the ecosystem needs to be understood better,” added Jerome Wauthoz, vice president – products, Tedial.

“Big networks have an interest in increasing rights; through personalised content, you can enrich the brand of a particular player, but I don’t see this shifting the way rights are distributed.”

However, Jeff Nathanson, managing director of the Whistle Sports Network, believes there’s a perception problem: “Focusing too much on delivering live can be detrimental,” he said. “Tools have to support a story first. We focus too much on the delivery of the end product rather than considering what happens along the way.

“We have to look at other sports other than the big ones. WWE have the rights for their athletes, a stratified structure with a subscription service, and the biggest social following, while esports continues to cause uncertainty within the traditional sports industry.”

Nathanson added that US sports are very interesting on the rights side, because they distribute across three of four broadcasters as well as doing their own OTT offering, making them future-proof.

“The bigger the audience and the bigger the event, the bigger the right packages,” observed Casper Choffat, manager R&D and lead system architect, NEP. “Metadata is key, and rights are a key part of this. You have to focus on the end user experience and adjust the technology accordingly.”

Nathanson added: “We need to focus right now on simple, fast delivery and navigation, simplifying the rights and end user experience, and telling the user about it.”