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Volume 10 No. 25

Media

Sky, BT Sport currently pay £21M a season for a joint TV deal.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Sky Sports "opened talks" with Scottish Professional Football League execs "over a potentially improved television deal," according to Scott Burns of the EXPRESS. SPFL CEO Neil Doncaster and "other influential members" traveled south for "high-powered talks" with Sky execs. Scottish football currently has a joint TV deal which sees Sky and BT Sport pay around £21M ($29M) per season. That agreement is due to expire in the summer of '20 and SPFL officials are "looking for a better deal." There were reports BT Sport was "keen to go it alone for the new deal" as it does not "get first shout on Celtic v Rangers games currently." But Sky wants to "remain part of Scottish football" (EXPRESS, 2/9).

Formula 1 Managing Dir, Commercial Operations Sean Bratches said that F1's "in-house streaming service is on schedule to be released" ahead of the '18 season, according to PLANET F1. Details have been "pretty scarce" since Liberty revealed it would be launching its own product "to open up a new revenue stream" away from TV deals. Bratches: "The relaunch of our digital platform is planned. Today it only costs us money. Fans cannot download exclusive content. However, we will introduce a direct streaming offer to the fans with both live content and non-live content. Fans will then get access to data directly from the cars." In a recent report on the growth of F1, Morgan Stanley forecast that the "pay-version of the streaming service" would cost the equivalent of £6.99 ($9.67) a month (PLANET F1, 2/12). PITPASS reported while former F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone believed that the TV deals "were sacrosanct and therefore barely explored other means of delivering the sport," Bratches believes "there is room for (paid) TV and an online alternative." He said, "Free-TV means reach, but the money is in pay-TV. Ideally, 25 to 30 percent of the races should be on free-TV and the rest behind a paywall. It works in France and other countries, but there are countries where we should not move to this model yet" (PITPASS, 2/12).

By "almost all metrics," '17 was a "massive" year for Twitch, according to Jordan Fragen of THE ESPORTS OBSERVER. The Amazon-owned platform has "long been the site of choice for gamers to stream their gameplay and is often the site of choice for esports tournaments to broadcast their content." Twitch released an annual list of milestones to contextualize its performance since '15. Notably, "very few of the same metrics have been carried over directly from last year." In fact, only two direct comparisons are possible between '16 and '17, time watched and dollars donated to charity. Perhaps the "most important point of comparison" across the years is the increase in time watched. Since the 16 billion minutes watched per month reported for '14, Twitch has continued to "experience massive year over year growth." On average, watch time increased by 23% year-over-year, leading to an overall increase of about 85% from '14 through '17. Unique monthly broadcasters have increased by around 500,000 since '14. The number of partnered streamers has "roughly doubled" since '15 (THE ESPORTS OBSERVER, 2/9).

For more coverage of the business of esports, visit our partners, esportsobserver.com.

Rupert Murdoch "pledged not to meddle in editorial decision-making at Sky News" but said that he will "not guarantee funding the service for more than five years," as 21st Century Fox seeks clearance for its £11.7B ($16.2B) takeover of Sky. The U.K.'s Competition & Markets Authority said last month that Murdoch's bid raised concerns the deal "would give his family too much control" over U.K. news media (London GUARDIAN, 2/12).

The OTT subscription online VOD market in Europe "should keep growing over the next five years," according to Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence. The research company is projecting the market to reach $6.8B in revenues in '22, up from $3.9B in '17. The "main factors contributing to this development" are the presence of localized Netflix throughout the region, the expansion of Amazon Prime Video as a standalone service and the debut of int'l OTT services such as Turner’s HBO and Naspers’ Showmax (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 2/12).

The final week of stage one for the Overwatch League accrued a total of 3.6 million hours of viewership. At 1.5 million total hours watched, last Sunday was the "most watched single day" since the OWL’s kickoff. The "highest point of viewership of the week was 1.7 million peak concurrent viewers" and occurred on the main OWL channel (THE ESPORTS OBSERVER, 2/12).
For more coverage of the business of esports, visit our partners, esportsobserver.com.