Friday, 23rd August 2019
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2021: the sports OTT tipping point

New report forecasts sports OTT technology spend will hit $6.8 billion by 2021; investment in real-time engagement features results in 24% uplift in subscriber acquisition as ‘freemium’ model becomes more prevalent.

Deltatre has unveiled Where the Money is Going: The Future of Sports Entertainment, an unprecedented global analysis of the economics of OTT sport. The report reveals that sports operators worldwide are now spending 15% of their total budgets on OTT, meaning that by 2021 more than $6.8 billion will be invested in the OTT tech stack in North America alone.

Where the Money is Going focuses on the factors underlying that investment, including consumer viewing trends, subscription patterns, and insights from decision-makers. It was compiled through research of U.S. and UK sports fans, analysis of 1.2 billion minutes of live streamed sports content, and exclusive executive interviews from top sports executives worldwide.


The main findings conclude that:

1) For two-thirds of consumers, $39 per month has become the cut-off point for sports content spend – with the remaining third prepared to pay more. With viewing habits changing across the media landscape, this has led global sports operators to increase their tech investment to better serve and monetize fans of all ages and preferences.

2) Investing in new functionality to maximise fan engagement through OTT services results in a 24% uplift in subscriber acquisition.

3) Global sports operators currently commit 15% of total budget to the OTT tech stack – which will be worth $6.8 billion by 2021 in North America alone.

4) IP-delivered services from leagues, federations, and operators are the future gateway for sports consumption – with ‘OTT 2.0’ expected to emerge by 2021. Insights from senior sports executives suggest the ‘freemium’ model or ‘family packages’ will become essential for bringing new consumers into the ecosystem and converting them to fully paid-up subscribers thereafter.

“The sports OTT KPIs have changed. It's no longer just about streaming the match. Encouraging viewers to come back day after day is the gold standard, even when there’s not a live match taking place. That means maximising engagement on the shoulders of the game itself. Tailoring video and editorial content to different types of fans and reconfiguring the UI and UX based on time of day, user insights, or the latest developments in the sports world that week is how brands can create a better ecosystem around a sport.” said Giampiero Rinaudo, CEO, Deltatre.

Other report highlights:

1) Demand for content has evolved beyond the living room with 39% of consumers watching four or more hours of sports programming on mobile per week and 1/3 of consumers citing 5G as a technology expected to have the most significant impact on sports content consumption.

2) Fans also want to feel closer to the action. 72% of those surveyed cite personalisation and a tailored user experience as the most important feature offered by OTT sports services. Almost the same number of consumers (71%) want deeper immersion and a desire to feel closer to the action through the more advanced functionality that OTT can provide.

The full report includes a breakdown on account sharing, device usage and adoption, consumer preferences for OTT content delivery, and future innovation within the sports streaming landscape.

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