From watching live sports to getting match updates, from setting up fantasy leagues to getting out there to interact with your favorite players, COVID has hyper-accelerated the change across all media and entertainment spectrums but most of all in sports.
Back in the day, the fun of match day was to either be in the stadium and part of the action or with friends or colleagues, glued to a radio/TV keeping track of your favorite team. OTT and VOD have entirely changed the way people consume sports content. Nobody misses a game anymore; you don’t rely on the network for actions replays, don’t wait a day for the match highlights to come up.
OTT and Pay TV viewing hours are at an all-time high, and a report by ReedSeer states that sports content has been the most consumed in 2020, with a 13% hike in overall viewership. All this in a year when most of our athletes were also locked in at home. This gives us an idea of the growth potential of sports content on OTT platforms. The key to winning a bigger piece of the audience pie will lie in strategizing how to enhance the viewing experience for the customers.
Here are a few ways in which OTT platforms can enhance the Live sports experience for the viewers –
Investment in Device Ubiquity
Live sports content should stream without lag and in high quality for viewers no matter what device they view it on, whether on a 60 inch TV, an office laptop, or a smartphone. The availability and quality of the content must hold across the board.
Co-viewing to Fuel Friendship
The pandemic may have taken players away from their teams, but it has opened up an excellent opportunity for OTT services to offer co-viewing services. They are allowing social distancing to become just physical distancing and there is no better co-viewing scenario than watching a game together. OTT platforms can deploy smart billing solutions to offer co-viewing options
Control over the Viewing Experience
Just the way fans are willing to pay extra for courtside seats, OTT platforms can harness AR and VR technologies available to offer viewers the added advantage of a personalized experience. Deloitte’s report “The future of sports broadcasting” states that “More than 40 percent of fans indicated that the presence of real-time augmented reality (AR) stats on-screen increase their likelihood to watch”. With the right billing software, this can be added as a pay-as-you-use service to generate spikes in revenue.
Integration with e-Sports and Fantasy Sports
OTT platforms can offer robust integrations with fantasy sports platforms by providing real-time statistics and predictions, ensuring a spike in customer engagement and revenue.
These innovations and integrations will enhance the customer viewing experience and have a significant impact on the business’s bottom line. With the demand for personalization growing at the rate at which it is, intelligent data gathering will play a massive role in shaping how customizations options are developed and rolled out to the customer.
OTT platforms need to invest in softwares that can be used to analyze the viewer’s behaviour and understand trends and usage patterns. They can then use this data to co-create offerings with teams, leagues, and broadcasters, creating a truly unique experience for the viewers.
This unprecedented time in human history will leave a considerable mark on human behavior and patterns. For the most part, content consumers have already started embracing newer viewing patterns that automatically work in favour of OTT platforms. The sheer surge in the number of live viewers with every sporting event speaks for itself. There are more OTT platforms operating today than there were broadcasters 20 years ago, but the online viewership is still nowhere near what it was during the heydays of broadcast television. If there was ever a time to be excited about being a sportscaster in the world of OTTs, it is now.