What: Facebook has signed an exclusivity deal with MLB to stream 25 matches on the social network. Why it matters: This is the first time a U.S. major league has granted a social network exclusive rights to broadcast games.
In a never-before-seen move, Major League Baseball has given Facebook exclusive streaming rights to 25 games this season. Any baseball fan who wishes to watch those games on mobile, desktop, or TV, will need to log into Facebook to do so.
The games will be available for free through Facebook’s Watch tab in News Feeds. Facebook Watch is the site’s video hub for original and live content. The partnership will start on April 4, with the Philadelphia Phillies vs New York Mets match. The deal consists of weekday afternoon games, mostly on Wednesdays. International audiences can watch the games directly on MLB’s Facebook page.
“It is a major creative step forward in serving our diverse, passionate community of fans, who will enjoy a uniquely interactive experience watching our games on Facebook each week,” said Tony Petitti, the league’s deputy commissioner of business and media, in a statement.
“We’re excited to extend our partnership with Major League Baseball to make Facebook Watch a home for exclusive, live games every week this season,” said Dan Reed, Facebook Head of Global Sports Partnerships. “Community and conversation are central to both baseball and Facebook, and MLB Network’s innovative broadcasts will bring these interactive and social elements of the game to life to fans around the world in new ways on our platform.”
MLB will also produce and distribute specially curated content in addition to each live game broadcast, including on-demand highlight packages for every regular season game as well as Club-specific weekly recap packages for all 30 MLB teams. These will be available on Facebook Watch in the United States and to baseball fans around the world.
What: With the tender for the 2019-2022 Premier League rights to go out this month, Netflix was thought to be amongst one of the challengers to traditional broadcasters. Instead it has opted out the bidding. Why it matters: Not only is this one less challenger for traditional broadcasters to worry about, but it is also one less challenger for Amazon and Facebook to worry about.
A New Frontier?
This season of the National Football League has not only seen Thursday night football games broadcast on the NFL Network, but also on Amazon. The games, available to Prime membership customers, offer a glimpse into the next steps major streaming companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook, are attempting to take as they look to expand their empires. Now they are looking to make a move on English football. Several months ago it was reported that among others, the aforementioned three would be in the bidding process for the 2019-2022 Premier League rights when they came out. However, with the rights set to be released sometime this month, Netflix has decided not to pursue the chance to broadcast English’s topflight football. Why? Simply put: it’s not Netflix’s style.
Netflix, one the most notable streaming services, has decided to stick to what it does best and this does not include live sports. It will instead focus its sports operation on original programming rather then live events. Early this past October, the streaming giant secured a deal with Serie A giants and reigning champions Juventus to produce a documentary on the club. The collaboration between Netflix and Juventus will provide viewers around the world with a behind the scenes look of the club during training sessions, preseasons, games and personal stories of the players. Commenting on the partnership with Juventus Erik Barmack, vice president of international original series at Netflix, stated: “Netflix is the home of passionate storytelling, and there are no more passionate fans than those of the Bianconeri.”
“We are excited to have unique, exclusive access to one of the most important squads in the world”
A Sure Thing
Netflix’s deal with Juventus and subsequent withdrawal from the Premier League bidding rights shouldn’t be looked as weakness on Netflix part. Rather, Netflix could be praised for taking on an old directive and shedding new light upon it. Sport documentaries like the one Juventus will have with Netlifx are wildly popular as evidenced by the NFL’s successful look into life in the NFL with Hard Knocks. Additionally, Fox Sports produced a similar documentary mini-series back in 2012 with English football club, Liverpool FC. The series title ‘Being: Liverpool’ was generally received well by fans and critics alike. Netflix is looking to recreate that same exposure with Juventus using the same directives that has grown its business in the first place: storytelling. Netflix is the number one streaming service because of its original programming and adding live sports broadcasting, it feels, seems unnecessary and a deviation to its style of television.
“We want to provide the best video storytelling across all genres, but it won’t encompass live sports broadcasting”
What:NeuLion announced a new deal with the English Football League (EFL). Why it matters: NeuLion was selected EFL’s digital partner in 2016, for a contract that runs until the end of the 2022/23 season.
Starting August, this year, the English Football League (EFL) will live stream all its matches worldwide for the first time through its new digital streaming platform. Titled iFollow and powered by NeuLion, the platform will serve up over 1500 matches in HD quality this season, at a cost of US $140, featuring live audio commentary, full match replays, highlights, behind-the-scenes content and blacked out games.
We will take the live match right out of the arena.
“The way the English Football League works is that they don’t have the rights to the radio broadcasts in each arena so we have an encoder at the venues with a total of 72 clubs. We will take the live match right out of the arena,” said Chris Wagner, NeuLion Executive Vice President, to Cynopsis Sports.
Through various partnerships, OTT NeuLion has been able to grow its content portfolio, which includes tennis, surfing, and MMA.
What: This week, à la carte live streaming service Sling TV launched a new marketing campaign, “Get Picky,” starring award-winning actor Danny Trejo. Why It Matters: The five different spots — some in Engish, some in Spanish — are aimed at both the general and Latino markets — a new strategy that Sling TV has found to be better aligned with the behavior of their consumers.
This week, à la carte live streaming service Sling TV, whose services go for as little as $10 a month, launched a new marketing campaign, “Get Picky,” starring award-winning actor Danny Trejo. The campaign features Trejo helping consumers embrace the pickiness (like ordering coffee or choosing a perfect vacation rental) and use it to get the TV they want.
Trejo, a beloved figure who has amassed a cult following due to his roles in “Breaking Bad,” “Machete,” “Machete Kills” and “From Dusk Till Dawn,” was featured in Sling TV’s last campaign, “Who’s Bad!?” and returns this year for a multimedia campaign that will include digital, mobile, social, print and new media platforms.
The fie different spots — some in Engish, some in Spanish — are aimed at both the general and Latino markets — a new strategy that Sling TV has found particularly effective, especially with a star like Trejo. Sling TV’s Chief Marketing Officer Glenn Eisen explained, “Danny was someone who could reach across the aisle; he was someone who was extraordinarily appealing to both market, and we fell into it very serendipitously.”
Eisen recalled how in the first shoot, Trejo asked one of the producers to play Patsy Cline for him, an unexpected but welcome request. “It really showed you how he really truly represented Americana,” Eisner said. “Americana is a patchwork quilt of people from the variety of different backgrounds and his appeal to both of those market segments has been great and sustainable.”
Sling TV traditionally considered the Latino and general markets separately, and had only planned to work with IMG agency Society for the Latino-oriented campaigns. But after brainstorming about how to take full advantage of a personality like Trejo, they realized that he had a uniquely universal appeal to all audiences.
“I can think of nobody better than Danny Trejo for both marketing segments,” Eisen explained. “We have such an important marketing message to share, and with him, we got to break through the clutter.” They decided to merge their Latino and general market efforts into one campaign.
This decision came after a great deal of market research that yielded an unexpected truth: In the case of OTT service providers, Eisner explained, target audiences tends to be defined more by their tech-savvy behavior and level of technological efficiency than the language they speak or where they are from. This kind of behavior — not necessarily a connection to culture or ethnicity — is what connects consumers to brands like Sling TV.
“As chord cutting continues to accelerate, and you see defection from pay TV, you are going to see that audience get more mainstream than it is today, but for now, our audience is defined by their behavior,” Eisner said.
While the new campaign with Trejo is designed to have mass appeal, it would be inaccurate to assume that Sling TV’s goal is to lump everyone into one category. Eisen highlighted the importance of how well Sling TV understands what its consumers want: “Sling TV continues to communicate something that Pay TV has prevented since its inception: providing its consumers with meaningful customization of their tv service.”
In a market where consumers expect everything to be customized and on-demand, Sling TV has been able to “bring an à la carte model to our consumer, who is used to being able to choose from a bigger or exceptionally bloated choice of channels, which is so disconnected from consumers’ behavior, wants, and needs,” Eisen said.
Eisen emphasized that Sling TV’s service includes highly customized packages for different demographics like Mexican Americans, and regions or countries like Latin America, Spain, and the Caribbean. “This is part of the à la carte scene that we are so committed to and deliver on in such an exceptional way that doesn’t exist in the marketplace today,” Eisen said.
What: The company launched a live TV beta service to the public with 50 different live and on demand channels, at a price of $39.99 per month. Why it matters: Hulu becomes one of the few pay-TV services, another one being SlingTV, that offers live and on demand channels, original series and films, and a library of premium streaming TV shows and movies, all in one place. This includes content from the four major sports broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC.
Since yesterday, may 3rd, viewers who subscribe to the Hulu Live TV (Beta) plan can enjoy live and on-demand programming from more than 50 popular sports, news, entertainment and kids’ channels, in addition to Hulu’s premium streaming library, all for $39.99 per month.
“Nearly a decade ago, Hulu forever redefined the way people watch TV. Today, as we add live sports, news, and entertainment and introduce a more intuitive Hulu, we want to redefine the way people experience TV,” said Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins in a statement. “By bringing together thousands of live, on-demand and library shows and movies — and serving them up in a uniquely personalized way – Hulu can now be a viewer’s primary source of television. It’s a natural extension of our business and an exciting new chapter for Hulu.”
Today, as we add live sports, news, and entertainment and introduce a more intuitive Hulu, we want to redefine the way people experience TV.
Content from the four major broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC, will now be available. Users will be able to watch and record the biggest live sporting events from top pro and college leagues on channels including CBS Sports, ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC Sports and TNT, as well as regional sports networks available in many markets.
The offer includes 50 hours of recording storage, up to six individual profiles and two simultaneous streams per account, with options to upgrade to an enhanced Cloud DVR and unlimited in-home screens, and is available on Apple TV, Xbox One, iOS and Android Mobile Devices, and Chromecast.
A summary of the most exciting recent news in online video in the U.S., U.S.-Hispanic and Latin American markets. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.
U.S./U.S. Hispanic Market
According to research by Nielsen, 32% of global respondents (and 22% of respondents in the U.S. and Canada) plan to cancel traditional TV subscriptions for online services. The survey involved 30,000 people in 61 countries.
And another Nielsen survey found that 66% of global respondents were seeing ads on their VOD content for products they do not want. 62% say they believe the ads are distracting, and 65% said they wish they could block all ads altogether. But 68% said they were ok with ads, as long as they kept the content free.
A study by Ooyala’s Global Video Index revealed that total mobile plays have grown 35% in the past year, and 170% since 2013. The study also found that mobile and tablets account for 26% of all online viewing in the world, up from 24% in 2014. And with the increasing popularity of OTT content, these numbers should continue to rise.
Sony has launched its PlayStation Vue streaming service in the United States after testing it for a year.
Verizon Digital Media Serviceshas acquired video company Volicon in part of its effort to improve its OTT video services. Volicon has set itself apart for its specialization in video capture, archival, compliance monitoring and clip creation workflow for broadcasters.
The BBC and ITVare supposedly discussing a joint OTT video service venture. The BBC currently offers online transmission, but this move would take their video efforts to the next level.
The Federal Communications Commission has voiced approval for the $55 billion Charter acquisition of Time Warner Cable, but will likely require conditions that involve efforts to slow down the expansion of online video. Charter promised to follow net neutrality rules for at least three years, and that it will not charge content companies to connect to Charter’s servers.
New stats from Colombia’s Comisión de Regulación de Comunicaciones (CRC) show that less than three in 100 Colombians use the Internet as their primary video viewing platform. But of those that do consume online video, 76% use YouTube, 14.3% use social media and 9.7% use VOD platforms. Strangely, this data contrasts with the latest report from Ericsson, which claimed that a third of Colombians were using VOD services for TV viewing and that the country is leading in Latin American mobile video penetration.
Market research firm GfKfound that Latin American media consumption on cell phones and tablets is more widespread than that of desktop computers, and that it will soon catch up to TV. The study also found that viewers in the region tend to watch an average of around 20 hours of TV per week and 17 hours of content on mobile and tablets. ESPN had commissioned the study to look at trends in media consumption in Latin America.
2btube, aplatform for YouTube creators, is opening Latin American operations. The company tapped Hugo Tapia to serve as country manager in Mexico, where the company will open an office. Tapia will be in charge of producing original content, optimizing revenue streams for the region’s audiences and discovering new creators.