Do not fall for the Snake Oil Salesman: what to consider when launching your niche (sports) OTT TV service!

I am often approached by people who are not typically entrenched in the TV industry, but have access to great content. Especially in the sports business, there are tons of such large and small players. They always ask me the same question: Should they launch their own OTT TV service? I have always the same straight-forward answer for them: a big YES.

Now is the right time to launch an OTT TV service. The opportunity has not been bigger and shinier than these days. Especially for sports content. So, if you own sports content, you must consider entering the OTT TV world now. This is even more true, if you are offering niche sports content. The big players such as Disney /ESPN, Discovery / Eurosport, beIN Media, Sky etc – they all are taking the lead already in this arena. It is about occupying shelf-space and customer-relationship.

Monetize your content on your own terms


It is another step towards a business environment where more and more content creators get into a direct relationship with content consumers. It shortcuts the distribution and aggregation platforms. Most notably it will undermine the TV content resale business of cable operators and telcos.  It’s all about distribution. The future of TV & Video is with apps. The future TV universe is going to be a world of various apps. Consumers can choose freely on which service they’d like to spend their dollar- no cable operator, telco or channel bouquet as a bottleneck. You can now distribute directly to the audience; and you can use all types of content. Finally, you can make use of your archive, too, and be able to distribute it – more though, to monetize it.

What to consider?


When you think about launching your OTT TV service, there are a few issues to consider though. Too often I see companies fail by not thinking the project through and not applying the proper expertise. While it seems to be an easy endevour to launch a OTT TV service these days, there are numerous pitfalls to be wary off. I will outline some of the elements that you need to look at.
On the one side, technology is not a limiting factor any longer. There are various technology vendors and service providers, who offer you one-stop-solution or managed services for your OTT TV platform. All you need to provide is your content and you can start. And most of all, technology is affordable. Budgets should not be a limiting factor either- especially when you consider the huge upside of generating various revenues out of your OTT TV service. But you would be wise to have a generous budget anyways and invest in a good state-of-the art solution. Do not fall for the snake oil salesmen who are abound these days promising you a cheap entry into the OTT TV sphere with their platform – you will pay dearly later on, if things fail.
Make sure the project has top priority among your team and leadership – and make all necessary resources available. Most new OTT TV fail for one of two reasons (or both): lack of sufficient funding and lack of operational support. Budget enough money to sustain a long enough start up phase and do not expect large ROI too early. Have a good service team that supports your project: Targeted Marketing, excellent customer service and experience, knowledgable content curation are the three key areas you should focus on.
Think about the user often and hard. Your own OTT TV service gives you the unique opportunity to engage directly with the consumer. There is nothing or no-one in between your content and the audience any longer. No cable operator, other TV channel or any other editiorial gatekeeper to deal with. You are in full control of the relationship with your fans and the entire brand experience. Make an impact!

More muscle for your business


Your own OTT TV service gives you much more muscle in the ever-so-hard sports rights negotiations. You can negotiate better with rights buyers because you have now your own outlet to broadcast and distribute content. It will also give you leverage to acquire content – because there are content owners who are very happy to work directly with a niche service, rather than having to deal with a big behemoth like Sky or Discovery.
The jungle is just starting to grow and it is up to you now whether you want to be a tiger or cricket in it.

 

If we can help you to understand how you can launch your oTT service, do contact us.

 

This article is also published in Sportcal Insight magazine Issue No. 15 (Fall 2017) 

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