The media landscape has seen more transformation in the past three years than in the past decade, as audience consumption habits rapidly evolve towards more social media and streaming and new technologies emerge in tandem. As a result, consolidation and investment among media companies is rife.
In the past year alone, we’ve seen the Saudi Arabian government acquire a range of media assets, including the gaming and esports powerhouse ESL, and the English Premier League team Newcastle United. Here in France, Groupe Bouygues and RTL Group merged the leading French commercial broadcasters, TF1 and M6, in a $4 billion deal to form a new European TV giant and subsequent streaming service. Microsoft rocked the media world when it acquired games studio, Activision Blizzard, in a mega $70 billion deal, giving it the “building blocks for the metaverse.”
Everywhere you look, the market is evolving. And with this evolution comes immense growth opportunities. One common denominator runs through each of the previously named investments in sports, esports, and entertainment programming – and that’s streaming. And with each acquisition and partnership comes exciting opportunities for growth and transformation across the media value chain. So, what do these growth blueprints look like for media companies, and how can they ensure they’re making the most of their investment opportunities?
Sports: a hot ticket to streaming success
I recently watched a documentary on Amazon Prime titled ‘Fever Pitch – The Rise of the Premier League.’ It was fascinating to see how just 30 years ago, the English Premier League was heralded as a major sports asset by Sky Sports for bringing in an audience of 1 million fans. This audience number pales compared to the league’s viewership today – it brings in a whopping 3.2 billion broadcast viewers globally and contributes £7.6 billion to the UK economy, according to arecent analysis by EY financial services. This incredible growth trajectory is being replicated across many parts of the broader media landscape.
The broadcast and sports industries have always been closely aligned. As sports broadcasters, TV operators, and content owners look to evolve their operations and embrace new technologies and platforms, their scope to grow services and transcend their traditional roles is limitless. With investments in streaming technology accelerating, broadcasters and TV operators are finding themselves rapidly evolving from being channel aggregators to service aggregators. I term it the ‘platformization’ of services – and it is a trend that is perhaps better known to TV operators, who started their transformation to the cloud years ago and are more mature than broadcasters or content owners. Regardless, this transformation is happening at every level in all three market segments, each with a different level of maturity.
The D2C revolution
Content owners are starting to develop media platforms and direct-to-consumer (D2C) streaming services of their own. So urgent is this need to transform that almost all the 40 sports rights-holders surveyed in theMediaKind 2021 Sports D2C Forecastunderstood the importance of going D2C to reach their fanbase directly. D2C propositions enable all sports service providers and operators to become orchestrators of their services and open the possibilities of new two-way transparent dialogues between brands and consumers. They enable traditional sports to replicate many elements from esports, particularly regarding blending interactivity and bringing virtual effects into the viewing experience.
This is exactly why we’re investing inMediaKind Engage, our D2C solution for video production, streaming, and audience engagement. This service serves to help new market segments – like sports content owners and other primary rights-holders – become TV operators themselves by owning a platform and creating a billing system while managing fans and accounts. It solves the challenges content owners, broadcasters, and media brands face as the pace of cloud adoption and D2C streaming increases, coupling MediaKind’s rich product set with our deep expertise in operating video and cloud workflows.
My colleagues Chris Wilson and Paul O’Donovan explain more about the MediaKind Engage workflow in the video below.
In the second part of my blog, I will be looking further into the technologies and strategies that MediaKind has adopted to enable a streaming-first future.