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SBD Global/October 16, 2013/Media

Sportel: Sky Deutschland Exec Says Exclusivity Is Key To Media Rights Deals

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Sky Deutschland Sports Production Dir Alessandro Reitano told SBD Global that exclusivity trumps any other aspect when it comes to sports-media rights at the pay-TV network. Asked if Sky may consider bidding for UEFA Euro and FIFA World Cup rights in the future, Reitano said, “The rights situation at such major events is a little different. You have to make a serious cost-benefit calculation. In the case of a World Cup, it is a four-week event with enormous rights costs and production costs and has only a poor value of exclusivity.” He added, “Of course it’s an interesting event, but is it justified to spend so much money if we are not allowed to show a single game exclusively and only in addition to free TV, that’s the question.” An idea that could work in the future is to split up the rights between pay-TV and free-TV networks, as is the case in the U.K. with F1 rights, Reitano said. Sky Sports holds the rights to every single race, while the BBC is allowed to show half of the races on free TV. Reitano: “In a case like that, the calculation would become more feasible. In the current state, it is very difficult to amortize the costs for such an event.”

4K OR 3D?
: Sky is not only looking to the future in terms of sports rights, but also when it comes to new technologies. An overarching topic at Sportel Monaco is the development of 4K, also known as Ultra HD. Asked about Sky Deutschland’s take on the new technology, Reitano said, “We believe in 4K or Ultra HD because we are convinced by it. It's not just simply a higher pixel count, but it’s a better pixel count. People sometimes refer to 4K as four-times HD in terms of resolution. However, due to the dynamic range, its color depth and color space, it’s actually an even better quality.” Reitano added that this notion of top-notch quality perfectly fits Sky’s plans of not only providing the best content, but also the best quality to its customers. The topic of 3D, on the other hand, has been put on the backburner at Sky. Reitano: “3D is just difficult. The reason it is difficult is because it simply has double the production costs of regular HD. In addition, 4K has the advantage that I can use the footage and simply reduce it to HD and various other sub-categories, which is simply not possible with 3D. The fact that 3D always has double the production costs compared to regular productions is simply no long-term economic model.”

SIZE MATTERS: Another technology that has caught the eye of Sky Deutschland is the multi-screen concept. Reitano: “Multi-screen concept means multiple feeds on one TV screen.” The fact that TVs are getting bigger and bigger is the foundation for such a concept. Reitano said, “I could imagine watching the main game-feed in Ultra HD across the whole TV while also having a highlight or replay feed in the left or right corner of the screen. It simply provides the viewer with an added value. I don’t need a second device to watch the second screen, I simply have a first screen with a wide range of possibilities already implemented.” To make the idea of a multi-screen concept gain traction, you now have to start introducing the concept to the younger generation, which is already using second screens, Reitano added.
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