Both Pete Scott and Dom Wedgwood are working at the crux of sports broadcasting and innovation. As VP of Emerging Media at Warner Bros. Discovery, it’s Pete’s job to have an eye on what’s up and coming in sports rights and broadcasting. Similarly, as SVP of Broadcast Technology, Dom and his team are implementing a variety of new experiences into the DAZN platform and beyond—like hosting the first-ever professional boxing fight in the metaverse (which also required purchasing an NFT for admission).
Doing Business in the Attention Economy
The main challenge that broadcasters face is how to create value through their digital assets and properties. Pete touches on the idea that rights holders are currently competing in the ‘attention economy’ —constantly vying for the time and attention of sports fans amid a myriad of other entertainment options. To that point, it’s critical to deliver timely content that’s personalized as much as possible, and also available on multiple platforms and devices so fans have the option of viewing however they want.
Turning Content into Currency
Another challenge for broadcasters and streaming platforms is how to monetize their content. Currently, the cost-per-minute to run ads on traditional, linear broadcasts is still higher than digital despite the fact that ratings are higher on digital platforms—-that’s something that could change in the future as companies like TikTok and online gaming giant, Roblox, look to incorporate ads in their content. If and when the money becomes equal on both sides then companies’ would inevitably start shifting their strategy to focus more on digital.
The Rise of FAST Channels
At Warner Bros. Discovery Pete and his team are working on ‘versioning’ or taking a specific game or match and then splitting it into multiple experiences for different target audiences—-that could mean watching the game with a select group of people like, friends, people who have the same bet as you, or even influencers and comedians who can offer an additional level of entertainment on top of the game. FAST channels, an acronym for free ad-supported television, are another form of versioning that are just starting to cross-over into sports programming. They’re low-cost, easy to spin up and take down, and offer fans content centered around a certain theme like highlights of a certain player, team or type of play. Additionally, programs could even be centered around the day of the week, offering up memorable sports moments from that particular date in history.
These are just a few examples of things that are already in the works. As fans continue to want more control and variety when it comes to content, and rights holders look to capitalize on meeting their demands, it’s certain that there will be a variety of new viewing experiences coming to a screen near you.
Check out another session from our London event where Andrew Yaffe, Head of Social, Digital, and Original Content at the NBA discussed the redesign and relaunch of the new league app prior to the 2022-23 season.