There’s been a surge in the popularity of ‘near-live’ content – i.e. programming that is broadcast less than 24 hours after recording. Typically, this includes video highlights and clips delivered within minutes of the action.
In particular, fans are drawn to highlights, scores, results and even analysis posted on social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Snapchat. Rather than spending hours watching an entire game or event on TV, an increasing number of viewers would rather access highlights through a digital platform such as an app, OTT streaming service or social media.
Why pirated and user-posted content is so successful
Fans want access to near-live content as quickly as possible. For them, the speed of delivery is as important as quality. This has led to the rise of illegally streamed content and user-posted highlights on social media, drawing eyeballs away from contents owners’ official licensed content. On these channels, audiences are being shown (and are willing to accept) advertising for all manner of illicit services; the fact they are willing to do this speaks volumes about their demand for quick-fire content. They just want it delivered fast.
The opportunity for content owners to fight back
Rather than taking this threat to their viewing audience lying down, sports organisations have the opportunity to counter unofficial sources by delivering high quality, official and licensed near-live content at the speed that fans want. Presented with a choice, with speed of delivery being equal, what are fans are much more likely to choose:
- Official sources with high production values and minimal advertising or risk?
- Unspecified sources that may carry ads for gambling, adult dating etc. – not to mention viruses?
If content owners can get this right – producing content at the speed the market demands – they have a big opportunity to build their online presence and develop all the commercial opportunities (such as the chance to sell official merchandise) that come with that.
A way forward built on better media asset management technology
The fight back really needs to start now, because at the moment sports businesses aren’t seizing the opportunity. Currently, as many as 44% of sports industry professionals admit that the supply of their content is not meeting viewer demands, because of technical limitations.
This current lack of trust in technology capability is really the crux of the problem for content owners. They know that they can improve their business and their brand by delivering high quality near-live content faster. In fact, 96% of sports organisations want to improve their supply of video because of this. The problem is that they don’t yet feel able to deliver, because of restrictions relating back to their media asset management systems and platforms.
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