But he stopped tweeting on March 6,after marrying Jerry Hall. This is a new era: the wily Murdoch could be selling to grow smaller, or else making a play for more Disney action post-sale. And some reports also suggest James Murdoch might look at a big Disney sale as a way to reconsider his own professional options beyond family holdings. Would that be worth tweeting about? And did the president actually call, or did his tweets do the talking for him?
That shift occurred because TV shows are shifting to online or on-demand viewing, and live broadcasts of the biggest sports are the main thing TV networks have left to draw in live audiences. But the need to keep those sports on TV and off streaming services is only accelerating the rate at which young people are tuning into other sports leagues instead.
In August , , individuals visited public viewing rooms in Berlin to watch live broadcasts of the Summer Olympics.
In the streaming era, more sports — and new types of sports like esports — keep thriving while interest in traditional pro leagues like the NFL and MLB declines. The incumbents are merging to consolidate ownership of must-have shows onto a smaller number of new OTT services that will each be stronger.
The majority of American households have a Netflix subscription i. Meanwhile, social live-streaming platforms that got their start enabling people to either vlog or watch video gaming are expanding to all sorts of live broadcasting: Twitch averaged 1 million viewers at any given point of day in January, and there were 3.
Linear TV viewing is declining: every major cable network except NBC Sports has declining viewership and aging viewers. Major pro sporting events are the last bastion of TV networks because the dominant brands are, for the most part, only available live on TV. Beyond those, the only content getting large audiences to tune in simultaneously are a couple Hollywood awards shows and premieres or finales of a couple hit shows Big Bang Theory and NCIS.
They are the reason for younger Americans to not cut the cord. This problem is only exacerbated by the fact that TV networks are paying record sums for exclusive broadcast rights to top sports leagues out of fear that losing them to a rival could be a nail in their coffin.
This strategy is delaying, not stopping the shift in consumption habits.
The major pro sports staying on linear TV has expanded the market opening for new sports to fill the open space with young people who mainly consume content online.
But you can produce and distribute video for an online audience more cheaply than for a television audience. In fact with Facebook Live and Twitch, you can stream live video for free, and you can share clips across every social channel to attract interest.
In fact, the rare instances when such sports are on TV — like their national championships — the league is usually paying large sums potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars for that airtime rather than getting paid by the broadcasters.
FloSports gives a home to the superfans of its partner leagues, with full coverage of the sport and commentary meant for real fans.
It produces events in the manner best fit to highlight the action and turns superfans — who generally pay a subscription — into evangelists who recruit friends. There are numerous sports that have millions of participants yet no active, high-quality event coverage; those are underserved markets.
Going global right away. Since being acquired in and renamed World Surf League, the governing body of professional surfing has developed a large global following — with 6.
Immediate data on audience engagement. As with all offline-to-online shifts, OTT video streaming captures dramatically more data on audience demographics and engagement than television does, and it does it in real-time. This makes it easier for emerging sports leagues to partner with advertisers and show immediate ROI on their sponsorships, plus it informs their understanding of how to produce their particular type of sporting event for maximum audience engagement.
Karate Combat is a year-old league that builds off the existing base of karate participants and fans around the world numbering in the tens of millions with a new competition format specifically intended for OTT.
The league allows full-contact fighting and sets the match in a pit rather than a traditional fighting ring for better camera angles.
It also replaces the traditional focus on having a big in-person audience which is expensive and instead sets the fights in exotic locations like the fight this coming Thursday night on top of the World Trade Center.
Like many emerging sports leagues, Karate Combat is vertically integrated: the league organizing the competitions is also the one producing and streaming the event coverage over its website, mobile apps, and social channels.
Online means interactive Jujitsu fighting is now an OTT service. Viewers can pull up and click through real-time stats, change camera views, or switch overlays think the the yellow first-down line in NFL broadcasts or coloring around a hockey puck to help you track it on the ice.
Ultimately, a more interactive experience means a more social and more entertaining experience and the sort of deep engagement advertisers value too. This is a more personalized experience than passively watching one broadcast on TV and it gets that subscriber actively engaged, with their behavior providing valuable data points for FloSports and their deeper interaction likely more compelling to event sponsors.
The display might also highlight live comments from friends or friends-of-friends in order to draw viewers into a more social experience. Discussion of a specific live stream with others watching it has been a central feature for Twitch and Facebook Live and enables the league or team streaming the event to directly engage with fans around the world.
An exception to the OTT-first strategy may be in sports that are entirely new and have zero existing base of participants or fans.
Karate, surfing, and video-gaming all have millions of passionate participants around the world, going back decades. Power is in the hands of the league owners Ari Emanuel, chief executive officer of Endeavor. The competition for audience by both traditional media companies and tech platforms leaves a long list of distribution partners eager for must-have, exclusive content — especially content like sports events that fans want to want live together — and willing to pay up.
There are direct subscriptions, advertisers, event sponsors, event tickets, a portfolio of possible OTT distribution deals, and merchandising. The potential revenue streams a league can develop are only more numerous when you add in launching a fantasy sports league — like World Surf League has done — and the recent nationwide legalization of sports betting in the US.
What is unclear is if they can defend themselves as the incumbent media and tech companies come around to this phenomenon and commit billions toward capturing the market. The leading sports broadcasting companies all have OTT offerings and want to make them as compelling to potential subscribers as possible even if they exclude content from the biggest pro sports.
The hope for an independent OTT platform devoted to emerging sports leagues is they get big enough, fast enough that they can afford to keep winning the rights to emerging leagues as those leagues grow and offers from competitors bid prices up. These dedicated OTT services will likely have to secure long-term — think ten years — streaming rights deals or acquire control of some popular new sports leagues outright to hold their own.
Like online distribution triggered an explosion of digital publishing brands and social influencers for every imaginable niche, the rise of high-quality live streaming and subscription OTT services will allow a lot more sports leagues to build an audience and revenue base substantial enough to thrive.