Today's cloud-based video delivery solutions have opened the door for sports federations of all sizes to create new revenue streams. More sports organizations are leveraging OTT to grow their business and meet market demands. As the worldwide leader in video delivery solutions, Harmonic offers flexible platforms that adapt to an individual content provider’s needs. But there are certain questions you need to ask before starting your OTT channel. Strategy and implementation are key elements in that journey. It's also important to know what milestones and benchmarks to measure to ensure success. Let's explore these topics now.
What strategies should smaller sports organizations consider when developing an OTT offering?
Keep it simple.If you are a small sports programmer looking to launch an OTT service, your operational teams are likely minimal or nonexistent. At Harmonic, we take care of the OTT complexities for programmers through our fully managed VOS®360 Live Streaming Platform. Through simple UIs or APIs, you as the sports programmer then have free reign to operate the service. Outsourcing the complexity to the experts with total confidence lets you focus on your primary business objectives.
Ensure that the OTT service is reliable and secure:Smaller sports programmers still need to meet consumer expectations. Viewers are less tolerant of technical difficulties or glitches, especially if they pay for the service. Your streaming platform must ensure total service continuity.
Make viewer experience a priority:You need to provide a streaming user experience on par with Netflix. That means a sleek UI with superior content discovery and time-shifted TV capabilities. Viewers should have access to functionalities like catch-up TV, and be able to stop on one device and seamlessly resume on another.
Be budget-wise:Leverage flexible pricing models with the VOS360 platform as a service. A SaaS model helps small sports programmers avoid making big, upfront CAPEX investments. You only pay for what you use and you don’t have to compromise on features or reliability. You can have the best of both worlds.
What’s the biggest barrier of entry for non-major rights holders when executing an OTT strategy?
The barrier to entry for launching an OTT video service is lower than it was 10 years ago. You don’t need set-top boxes anymore: you use apps or bring your own device. You don’t need a bespoke network: you use the internet.
That being said, the first barrier to entry for OTT is complexity. Running an OTT service reliably and securely is essential. Our VOS360 platform takes the workload off your teams and ensures the highest level of availability and maximum uptime with 24/7 DevOps teams behind the scenes.
Another entry barrier: The OTT ecosystem is very fluid and constantly evolving. You need to be ready to adjust your service quickly to meet the latest technology trends and market requirements. Again, this is where a SaaS approach with features and capabilities that are continuously refreshed makes the most sense.
What’s the best way to retain audiences and reduce churn?
It depends on your content, but generally there are a few rules of thumb:
Provide exceptional video quality:You’ll want to deliver full HD resolution and HDR for sports, especially live. You can even offer occasional events in UHD to generate excitement.
Ensure low latency for live events using technology like CMAF and low latency HLS: Our VOS360 platform is compatible with the low-latency standards as well as with CDNs. You can easily scale to accommodate massive amounts of viewers.
Manage peak viewing:Having a multi-CDN delivery capability is important. This will allow you to monitor several public CDNs and select the best route for your traffic. It’s essential for peak usage situations and for redundancy purposes.
How do you measure success between engagement, growth, gross or net revenue?
From a technology standpoint, the metric we use for success is the total gigabits of video delivered through the VOS360 platform every month. Gigabit growth indicates the streaming service is being used more. However, you are bringing in revenue when people stream and watch your content. And that is the end game.
What OTT solutions does Harmonic offer for all sports?
Not only are we a service partner for traditional programmers and channel providers, we also work with new entrants that have never provided TV content before.
Our VOS360 Live Streaming Platform simplifies video streaming and delivery for sports. Organizations that want to get into the streaming game can use VOS360 as a turnkey solution to launch and scale fast. The platform provides all of the necessary features and capacity needed to meet demand. It also integrates seamlessly with existing systems. Recently, we helped Indycar racing, the preeminent open-wheel series in North America, add in-car streaming to its OTT service. Our partner ecosystem is also another powerful way we provide flexibility.
If you have questions about how to stream live sports and leverage a SaaS to simplify your video delivery, we're here to help. Get in touch with us today and we can start a discussion.
Jean Macher is Business Development Director of SaaS Solutions for Harmonic where he drives the marketing effort for next-generation video solutions in the Americas. Macher joined Harmonic as part of the acquisition of Thomson Video Networks, bringing with him more than 20 years of experience in MPEG-related solutions and digital television implementation. Macher holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Institut Supérieur d'Électronique in Paris.