On December 1st I joined a stellar cast of panellists at the Future TV Ad Forum. Hosted in London I was invited to add an agency perspective to the future of sports media and TV advertising. Chaired by Jon Watts from MTM (the international research and strategy consultancy) we were joined by Tim Sewell from Yospace, Jonathan Davies from Discovery Networks International, Justin Gupta from Google and Damon Lafford from Channel 4.
As we know televised live sport is hugely valuable, to right holders, broadcasters, pay-TV platforms and advertisers- with an unparalleled ability to attract subscribers and large live audiences. However the market is rapidly changing. Our conversation focused on how the sports media landscape will change over the next five years and the implications for rights holders, brands and broadcasters.
Can the rising fees broadcasters are paying be sustained and can we expect fees to continue to increase?
I believe we are approaching a crossroads. Rising costs have led to more content being placed on paid subscription services which is driving vast revenues for certain sport platforms. But I believe it may damage their appeal in the long term. The time is approaching where sports rights owners are being forced to make a decision between short-term revenue and long-term brand health. Equally, when does the price become “not worth it” for broadcasters? Can they afford to let their competitors win the rights? The answers to these questions will dictate the direction of the industry.
Alongside rising content costs a number of digital platforms are emerging which celebrate the culture of the sport, but have no live action rights. Their appeal amongst fans is growing rapidly and they offer brands strong integrated opportunities. The strict protections around the live broadcast make these platforms more appealing to brands in some cases.
Relaxing traditional rules and technology is key for major broadcasters to re-assert their authority. This can open up wider engagement opportunities for audiences and deeper integrated marketing possibilities for brands.
I don’t think we’ve reached the peak of sports content fees but we are closer. I believe that when we do it will force the industry to think differently. This will lead to new and exciting opportunities for media platforms, brands and most importantly, the fans.