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(Personalised) Content is King

Here is your MyCujoo team delivering you the second edition of the “Sports Industry Brief”, a monthly newsletter to our partners, offering perspectives on the wider trends of sports and business across the world. Once a month, we hone in on one particular trend or topic and decipher it for you, allowing you to make sense of it and understand the positive impact it can have on your digital footprint. This month, we examine the growing importance of personalised non-live content…

Sports Industry Brief

The array of OTT services to have populated the sports market in recent years have mainly focused on the live streaming experience, and much of the noise around sport’s digital explosion has neglected the importance of the short form, be it highlights or athlete- and fan-generated content. Football by nature has always been about communities, but this can be lost if passive audiences are merely provided with the live product.

While live remains the centrepiece for you, the content rights holders in the long tail of football, it is its combination with popular and inventive short-form videos and engagement tools that will make the difference. Content creation generates additional revenue streams by harnessing the potential of your stakeholders, be it the players or the fans. The seasonal nature of football also reinforces the need to drive engagement throughout the year with a compelling content library and go beyond simply live event programming.

As Giampiero Rinaudo, chief executive of Deltatre, observes in the company’s recently-published sports streaming study: “The sports OTT KPIs have changed. It's no longer just about streaming the match. Encouraging viewers to come back day after day is the gold standard, even when there’s not a live match taking place.”

Beyond the game

Rinaudo encourages maximum engagement on the shoulders of the live game itself, tailoring video and editorial content to the fans’ needs, and the statistics support that approach. The consumption of sports-related videos jumps by 75 per cent the day before the transmission of a live event, according to one study*. A match’s life cycle extends well beyond the live 90 minutes, with 50 per cent of fans seeking content related to a forthcoming game between one and three days before the match, according to the ‘Modern Football Fan’ report.

The consumption of so-called ‘companion content’, such as behind-the-scenes footage, player interviews or fan videos fuels excitement before the live event and deepens engagement. This mantra is one we firmly believe in and we encourage stakeholders to generate personalised content that resonates with fans. This, in turn, helps build a football community that retains users, instead of allowing content to be lost on diluted generic platforms like Facebook or YouTube.

Of the different sports content types, it is highlights and on-demand video – not live - that will be most consumed over the next three to five years, according to PwC’s Sports Survey 2018. User generated content is also predicted to continue to perform well, given its native, social and often viral nature.

As viewing habits increasingly shift from linear to digital, advertisers’ key demographic groups continue to represent the bulk of the viewership for non-live sports content online. Indeed, a higher proportion of the three youngest age groupings – 16 to 20 years olds, 21 to 25 and 26 to 35 – are watching non-live content as opposed to live (see PwC graphic below).


The gaming trailblazers

The burgeoning eSports sector offers an example to follow for stakeholders seeking to reap the benefits of personalised and user-generated content. eSports’ digitally native community has not only been fuelled by a strict live viewing function, but also key engagement features.

Live chat features, loyalty schemes, personalised emojis and gamers streaming their own content all help to prevent the loss of viewers and keep the monthly subscription fees rolling in. Indeed, 72 per cent of those surveyed in Deltatre’s study cite personalisation and a tailored user experience as the most important feature of an OTT sports platform.

Twitch’s audience continues to show an upward curve with 2.7 billion hours of video watched in the first quarter of 2019, a quarterly rise of 7 per cent. The platform’s ‘long tail’ channels now represent 20 percent of total viewership hours, with their growth largely attributable to added features outside of the live event.

Star attraction

Joining Twitch in disrupting the sports broadcast model have been the athletes themselves. Given their direct relationship (and hero status) with fans, it is crucial for rights holders of all sizes to maximise the benefits of their stars in between the live events.

Player content presents rights holders with a valuable means of extending their reach, riding the wave of athletes’ social media popularity, and monetising their digital output. Maximising your content assets, for instance through training videos or behind-the-scenes exclusives, can be the difference in effectively monetising your digital footprint.

The value of football content outside the 90 minutes of action is underlined by the number of fan-focused platforms to emerge in recent years. However, only MyCujoo offers the combination of effective engagement with live and personalised non-live videos to entice and retain members of a content-hungry community. A position reinforced by our recent partnership with the By433 social media agency to develop short-form content.

Our streaming platform already connects 6 continents, 17 million diehard fans and 30 million streams annually. While the empowerment of live streaming at scale remains part of our DNA in building football communities, it is innovation in creating content and providing engagement features that will allow smaller-sized federations, leagues and clubs to develop a better digital ecosystem for themselves and advertising brands alike.

And, faced with abuse of their content on social media platforms, or curtailed advertising revenues offered by Facebook and YouTube, rights holders need a platform that engages a true community around the players and fans. And one which lets them take control of data and reap the advertising reward.

*according to Comcast Technology Solutions and Akamai’s white paper ‘Sports: The New Battle Ground for Premium OTT’


2021: The Sports OTT Tipping Point – Deltatre Unveils Future of Sports Streaming Report
TV futures initiative sports : the new battle ground for premium OTT
PwC's Sports Survey 2018
Streamlabs: Twitch is still streaming king, though YouTube is gaining ground
MyCujoo partners with 433 as it continues to hero the long tail game