Technology

Monetising the sports arena through Pay-TV

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GOA: After a fruitful day one of IDOS 2013, day two kicked off with a presentation by Media Partners Asia executive director Vivek Couto on ‘Sports and Pay TV: The path to value creation’. “The idea is to bring value to sports and to bring it to markets that have the passion for sports,” he said.

The sports market is very different in the US and Australia as against Europe and Asia. The US and Australian markets have higher mark-up value and is a profitable proposition for the operators as the major part of the revenue is earned through subscription fees as against advertising revenue. But, the scenario is just reverse in case of European and Asian markets where advertising revenue drives the broadcasters.

“The big difference in the markets is the availability of multi-platform rights from the broadcasters in the US and Australian markets which makes life easier for the operators,” Couto added.

In the European and Asian markets, the problem is abstaining from providing better interactive services to the consumers rather than focusing on just raising advertising revenues. This has also resulted in the death of ESPN as a sport major in the European market as is the case in Asia (except India).

One of the various reasons that have really driven ARPUs in the US and Australian markets is the focus on packaging rather than exclusivity. “The US market is very vertically integrated, so there is no exclusivity of ‘live’ event coverage and the focus is more on better production and packaging of content to attract the attention of the viewers and build a bigger and loyal fan base,” explained Couto.

This is one of the biggest reasons for DirecTV having made such a big impact on viewers globally. The focus on this platform is on the kind of coverage given rather than just focus on exclusivity of the content carried. This has slowly encouraged all broadcasters to focus more on how they package and present their content to their viewers.

The US market currently has a very profitable sports ecosystem, so much so that almost all the leading operators provide a good bouquet of sports channels right from the basic packs to the premium packs. With leading players like Comcast also adding sports channels to its basic packs only goes onto show the power of sports globally.

Sports has really been a battering ram for both subscription and ARPUs, so what are the takeaways for the Indian market? “Well firstly, focus on, slowly making the move from SD-HD-HD ad free and finally take it to multi-screen availability. Also the ads need to move from CPRT to CPT to make the content more incentivised and finally give more access to the consumers by tying up with mobile and online services,” ended Couto.

The way forward is certainly bright for the Indian market, but a lot more can be done by covering more of local sports and create greater traction with the local population by getting local cable operators to cover smaller events in a bigger way and promote more sports rather than being just a one sport nation.

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