Sportel sportsbiz

Our Exclusive SPORTEL Survey: Streaming Apps Will Continue To Multiply

October 26, 2023

It’s widely remarked these days that people just can’t afford or don’t want to juggle six or eight different apps to watch sports content, but industry veterans don’t see that picture changing any time soon.

Although future consolidation of content is on the horizon, the proliferation of streaming apps will continue to be a major trend in the television market, according to an on-the-spot survey conducted by iSportconnect at SPORTEL Monaco from October 23-25.

Our in-person survey of attendees representing more than 50 different companies from around the world showed 57% of them choosing more apps and single sport, league/team or event OTT options as the current trend, while the rest said the market direction is towards more aggregation. Several respondents specified that although they see more aggregation happening, it won’t be within a three-year time frame. 

One expert remarked that organisations investing in having their own apps is often more about ego than financial benefit. That said, apps can be hugely successful even for smaller players. At SPORTEl we learned that the Isle of Man TT race app racked up 65,000 buys this year at £20 a pop.

iSportconnect polled well-seasoned media executives from global rights owners including FIBA, Serie A, Ligue 1, the NBA, World Rugby, ATP Media, NASCAR, SailGP and World Rowing, broadcasters, agencies and a raft of technical and service suppliers. They came to SPORTEL in Monaco from all over Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa. A good many of them have been attending every October for 10 or 20 (or even more) years.

They see growth of advertising-based sports media business (44%) as the trend over the next three years rather than subscription-based models, but 20% of them said the evolution is more nuanced than a simple either/or choice. 

Several experts see the trend being toward a combination of subscription and advertising with consumers given a choice of paying a premium for advertising-free content or watching content with ads for less or for free. 

One federation commented that there are although there are more FAST (free ad-supported) channels they don’t generate significant revenue because they lack distribution. An agency noted that despite huge audiences  (30 million and upwards) for cricket in India on free, ad-supported streaming by Viacom, advertisers are not yet investing in a big way.

Most of those surveyed (63%) said they see a trend towards more localized or regionalized content over the next three years. But a few of them said that their opinion was more of a hope than a hard-headed assessment. 

There was also a view that while there will be more local content available, the value of the big global properties will become even more dominant in the next few years, thanks to the star and celebrity power that they have. There is generally expected to be growing regionalization and localization by major global properties.

Personalization remains an aspiration rather than an expectation. An executive from a leading global sport commented, “Everybody wants to broaden their opportunity at the top of the funnel but to get to fans at a level that is really relevant is still cost-prohibitive.”

By Jay Stuart, Content Director, iSportConnect

Sportel sportsbiz