Sports OTT offerings and streaming media services are proliferating internationally, as rights holders and media companies look to embrace the opportunities afforded by digital distribution. Major internet businesses are investing in sports rights and streaming live on their platforms, pay-tv operators and broadcasters are embracing multi-platform distribution, to extend their offerings and attract new customers, and sports owners are rolling out new direct-to-consumer services. Many industry participants are bullish, anticipating a decade of growth and opportunity for the sports industry.
However, the growth of the OTT sports market also presents important new challenges. Delivering live sports to large OTT audiences can still be technically and operationally complex, with many OTT providers experiencing delivery and quality of service issues. In some cases, viewers complain that OTT offerings still lag behind pay-TV platforms in terms of features and functionality. Many subscription OTT sports businesses also report that the economics of rights-based offerings are difficult, with expensive rights, high customer acquisition costs and limited customer loyalty. Piracy also remains a significant challenge in online environments, with illegal streaming presenting significant challenges in some markets.
How will the world of OTT sports develop over the next 3-5 years? What challenges does the sports industry need to overcome to develop and grow the market? What does it take to succeed with a paid-for sports OTT offering? How will live streaming on the major internet platforms develop? Will subscription OTT sports offerings become a major new channel for the industry?