Andy Warman

By: Andy Warman on October 23rd, 2019

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6 Reasons to Shift to OTT for Live Streaming Sports

According to Digital TV Research, online TV episode and movie revenues will more than double from $68 billion in 2018 to $159 billion in 2024, with $17 billion added in 2019 alone. This blog will explain why now is a great time to launch an OTT channel, especially for live sports.

1. The OTT market for live sports is on the brink of a major boom.

The popularity of OTT platforms has grown significantly in recent years. Live sports streaming is now available to more consumers on more devices than ever. Need proof?

Look no further than Amazon Prime Video streaming Thursday Night Football Games for the NFL as well as Premier League games.

Even better, consumers are willing to pay. The Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg and ThePostGame found that 63% of all sports fans are interested in paying for an all-sports over-the-top channel. Of those interested in streaming sports, 56% would pay more for online streaming than for traditional TV channels.

2. Digital-based video delivery has become a critical requirement for business growth.

International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that worldwide spending on the technologies and services enabling digital transformation will reach almost $2 trillion in 2022. Also, companies will allocate 10% of their revenue to fuel their digital strategies.

If you’re not already on board with digital technologies, now's really the time.

New IT-based technologies will enable you to be agile and stay competitive. You can develop deeper customer relationships and offer more dynamic pricing for your OTT service.

3. The technology is accessible. 

Today, launching an OTT channel is simpler than ever. The technology for delivering digital video is on point. It’s now seamless.

OTT providers have moved beyond delivering OTT content and are experimenting with advanced targeting, cross-device campaigns, social media amplification, personalization features and more.

4. OTT is an opportunity to change your business model from pay-per-view (PPV) to direct-to-consumer (D2C), and this shift doesn’t have to be disruptive.

The success of the WWE Network is a great example of moving to a D2C model. WWE Network launched as a streaming platform in 2014. It now provides live coverage to 1.7 million subscribers of every WWE match and also on-demand access to original programming, plus archive content online via a mobile app and on smart TVs.

Rather than relying on an unpredictable advertising market, content owners and service providers are shifting to a subscription-based model where they can earn more predictable, recurring revenue.

5. Previous roadblocks to launching OTT channels are no longer an issue.

Latency used to be a major challenge for content owners and service providers wanting to deliver OTT, especially for live sports streaming. The latency issue has been resolved thanks to advancements in compression, and use of CMAF reducing the latency for encoded content delivery. Today, OTT providers can deliver the same low latency for live sports as broadcast channels. Another hurdle has been scalability.

Today, SaaS solutions enable OTT providers to scale up to serve large numbers of viewers during live sports events. Recently, Telkomsel, the Indonesian mobile network operator, served 4 million subscribers during a premiere soccer tournament. Even better, they achieved excellent QoE. It was all thanks to the flexibility and scalability offered by SaaS.

6. You’ve got a lot to gain.

Launching an OTT channel, live sports streaming in particular, opens up an entire world of opportunities for video service providers. One of those is being able to innovate faster.

In addition, you can deliver more engaging experiences to fans and broaden your reach globally. A local sports team that only reaches near-by audiences can now tap into a global fan base with live sports streaming. You can boost fan engagement and revenues by offering expanded coverage that attracts new fans. More people will share and like your video content on social media and snag new sponsors' attention.

OTT also gives you a chance to gather detailed data on your audience. You can learn more about viewer profiles such as age, location and viewing choices.

These details may influence your content strategy, helping you zero in on delivering the kind of content that viewers want. As a result, you can more easily create personalized streaming video experiences.

OTT channels are a great opportunity to monetize your brand and drive new revenue. Advertising video on demand (AVOD) is one area that shows a lot of promise. Digital TV Research found that AVOD is set to climb $34 billion between 2018 and 2024 up to $56 billion. The same survey forecasts SVOD revenue to rise from $36 billion in 2018 to $87 billion in 2024.

Moving forward with OTT

Once you decided to move forward with OTT channels, having a strategy for creating your streaming service is important. Live sports can be a springboard to success in the video streaming environment, based on its popularity with fans, revenue potential and opportunity for personalization.

About Andy Warman

Andy Warman is the Director of playout solutions at Harmonic. He provides business development and strategic direction for Harmonic’s line of playout enabled solutions for cloud and appliances including Spectrum media server, the Polaris automation suite, MediaGrid shared storage solutions and VOS cloud-native media processing. Warman also serves on the board of directors ofthe Alliance for the IP Media Solutions (AIMS) and chairs the trade association’s Marketing Working Group. Warman joined Harmonic after 11 years at Harris Broadcast in product management, where he drove Harris’ channel-in-a-box strategy, server platform and storage consolidation initiatives. With deep domain experience in the production and playout arena, he also has experience in automation, news production, content creation and infrastructure common to broadcast workflows. Andy holds a degree in Electronics and Management Science from the University of Kent at Canterbury.