To say that the business of sports rights and broadcasting is becoming more complex is rather an understatement. Between consumers embracing cord-cutting, big tech streamers like Amazon, YouTube and Apple purchasing segments of NFL rights, virtual players like Sling TV and Google Live angling for a piece of the sports pie, and FAST channels like Pluto TV, Peacock and Roku getting in on the action, consumers have many options to choose from -- and are also getting confused. Marija Masalskis, Senior Principal Analyst, TV, Video and Advertising at Omdia helped explain the myriad factors coming into play currently as a panelist on the "Streaming Sports: The Intersection of Broadcast Strategy and Technology" breakout session at MFM's annual conference last month. Masalskis said that while consumers are opting out of pay-TV in droves, they may also find themselves shelling out up to $170 a month to watch most of the NFL games, which have been sliced and diced between several big tech operators, who, she said, mostly view sports rights as a means to an end. "[For these companies] sports fits into their advertising package," she explained. "Sports attracts audiences and advertisers. Sports doesn't have to pay off -- it's about supporting their larger portfolios."
Another issue is how to capture younger viewers, who now tend to watch sports not on the big screen, but as part of a social media experience with opportunities to interact with other viewers. Another trend Masalskis pointed to is fragmentation and diversity: interest in watching women's and niche sports is increasing, allowing esports and egaming companies to find their own place at the table. "With all this chaos comes opportunity," she believes, and it only stands to become more complicated -- and interesting.
Watch Masalskis' interview with Warner Bros. Discovery's Cal Mostella above in our latest Office Hours video.
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