SBD/Issue 214/Sports Media

SEC, XOS To Announce New SEC Digital Network Online Platform

The SEC and XOS Technologies are teaming to form the SEC Digital Network, a "broad online platform of content representing an attractive new revenue stream for the conference and its member schools," according to Michael Smith of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The platform, which will "aggregate all sports content and distribute it in a centralized model, is expected to launch Aug. 27, just before the start of the college football season." The platform launch will coincide with a redesign of the conference's official Web site, SECSports.com, which will "offer more than 10,000 hours of original and exclusive video, including games and interviews." The Web site's archive is "expected to grow beyond 20,000 hours." The SEC and XOS are "still working on what the SEC Digital Network will look like when it debuts next month." The two sides also are "still working on the revenue model, but a mix of subscription and advertising will be incorporated." Smith notes the long-term rights agreement, "which will be announced this week, represents a new revenue stream for the conference that previously didn't exist," and the money, "like most of the SEC's revenue, will be shared among the 12 member schools." Member schools "retain the right to stream live events on their Web sites, as long as those events are not already being broadcast." The SEC Digital Network's live streaming will be "limited to select championships of Olympic sports at first, but could grow to include more live coverage as the network evolves." The deal gives XOS "rights to collect and manage SEC video content while distributing it to consumers and other businesses that have a use for the footage." The SEC and XOS did not reveal financial details but said that the deal is "not as long as the conference's 15-year TV deals with ESPN and CBS." Smith notes XOS Digital will run the site out of its Orlando HQs, with former Collegiate Images Exec VP John Christie serving as SEC Digital Network GM. SEC Associate Commissioner for External Affairs Mark Whitworth, who along with SEC Exec Associate Commissioner Mark Womack and TV consultant Chuck Gerber formulated the conference's digital strategy, "will be the network's primary contact" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/27 issue).

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