Capon expects live streaming to boost overall value of sports rights.
Social video service provider Grabyo has seen “enormous growth” in its business as established and upcoming sports properties take advantage of its software tools, company CEO Gareth Capon said. The London-based company went from roughly 40 million views across its platform in '14 to about 724 million last year. It has already hit the 1-billion mark during the first two quarters in '16. Grabyo, which is not quite three years old, provides software tools to rights holders, broadcasters and content creators to edit and share clips across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. It also more recently moved into the live streaming space, distributing content through Facebook and YouTube, Capon told SBD Global. “Live is still the most valuable experience in sport,” Capon said. Grabyo’s partners, which include Wimbledon, La Liga and Formula E, may differ in how they use the company’s suite of tools, but not in their objectives, he said. “They are using social platforms to generate huge amounts of engagement, conversation and sharing around the [event], which encourages more people to get involved and therefore watch it on TV,” Capon said. While established properties like Wimbledon use Grabyo’s live streaming service to show warm-ups and behind-the-scenes activities, others, such as the Caribbean Premier League, use it to broadcast matches in regions where it does not have existing TV deals. “The smaller rights holders are a lot more open and innovative in the way that they go about distributing their content because they don’t have quite the scale of broadcast deals or the value of rights relationships,” Capon said. Through Grabyo’s help, all 34 matches of this year’s CPL season, which kicked off on June 29, will be live streamed on Facebook Live in 40 countries around the world, making it the first sports league to take this approach.
: Facebook, Capon said, has an advantage compared to other social media platforms. Not only does it have the highest user base, it also solved the discovery problem. “The hardest part for building a significant amount of live audience is that you need to allow people to discover it, and Facebook is better at that than any other platform,” he said. Grabyo will introduce several new platform features this year to satisfy the evolving needs of its customers. Those will include new and improved editing features, tools to include data in the creation of content, and first steps into VR/AR and 360 video, Capon said. The company currently employs 24 people at its London HQ, and a couple more in Spain and the U.S. Grabyo declined to share its latest financial numbers, but Capon expects the trend toward streaming and social content will continue to grow. “Platforms that can aggregate audiences drive up the value of those rights,” he said. “TV being the best example of that. When you look at live streaming, it’s an obvious expansion of that eco-system. The values and the fees of live-streaming rights are definitely not at the same level as TV at the moment. [But] what live streaming is doing is increasing the overall value of what a traditional rights package looks like.”