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Premier League aiming for “Netflix-style” service

"Eventually the Premier League will move to a mix of direct consumer and media rights sales"

The Premier League is considering launching its own streaming service for the 2022-25 seasons, according to its new chief executive Richard Masters.

Masters said a Netflix-style offering would allow the Premier League to charge directly for a “Premflix” channel rather than sell the rights to TV companies.

“During the last process we spent quite a lot of time and invested a lot of recourse in building out our expertise and capacity in ‘direct consumer’,” he said. “We considered whether it would be the right time to test a few markets and decided not to. But we are going to continue for the planning phase in the next commercial term to build out those capabilities. We were ready last time and we will be ready next time should the opportunity arise.”

The Guardian noted that while the Premier League makes £3.1 billion a year from TV rights, launching its own streaming service “could lead to substantial rises in revenue.” In Singapore, for example, Singtel pays £70 million a season to the Premier League, yet it makes £175 million a year from subscribers who pay around £35 a month for live games. “If the Premier League kept these TV rights for itself it could potentially make another £100m in Singapore alone,” said the report.

Masters suggested a two-tiered system, where certain countries could watch games via existing TV broadcasters and others could watch games streamed directly by the Premier League. “I’m not saying it will happen in the next cycle or when it will happen but eventually the Premier League will move to a mix of direct consumer and media rights sales,” he said. “It is impossible to say when that will be.”

The chief executive also reasserted the Premier League’s global popularity despite a recent fall in the value of domestic TV rights, following a £2 billion deal with NENT for the rights for Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland from 2022-28 – an increase of more than 20 per cent a year.

“We have every reason to be optimistic about the future of sports rights,” he added. “I don’t think the bubble has burst because our business is effectively hedged between domestic performance and international performance.”