Ustream To Handle Int'l Digital Distribution For IMG Media Properties
Football matches from the Netherlands Cup were not available on U.S. TV last week, but digital media company Ustream streamed the matches for free on its website thanks to a new deal the company cut last month with IMG Media that is expected to be announced officially this week. The deal will see Ustream handle int'l digital distribution for the bevy of rights that IMG Media controls. The deal runs for at least one year. "Where it goes beyond that, I can't say," said Ustream VP & Head of Sports Wayne Sieve. The deal kicked off Oct. 12 with a spate of FIFA World Cup qualifiers that were streamed globally. It will continue with sports like football (league games, national Cup games, World Cup qualifiers and friendlies), motorsports, rugby and swimming. IMG Media provides the rights, Ustream provides the streaming, distribution and sales and sponsorship opportunities through its streams. Both IMG Media and Ustream have the opportunity to sell ads and sponsorships. Ustream has 57 million unique users and plans to promote these games through its own online channels. It will also promote the games through league and event channels that already exist on Ustream. Ustream also allows the participating leagues and teams to distribute the live video player on their websites and Facebook pages. Ustream uses geo targeting restrictions to keep video out of areas where the games TV rights already have been sold to keep the streaming site from competing against rights already sold in given markets. "A lot of these are a work in progress," Sieve said. "We are a global platform. The majority of our viewers are not in the United States. This is about providing access to displaced fans." Ustream is best known for streaming video and has been getting more involved with sports rights, having signed streaming deals with the Australian Football League and Ultimate Fighting Championship.