Forget 2nd Screen – Social Media will be the 1st and 2nd

Forget 2nd Screen – Social Media will be the 1st and 2nd

I am a huge Batman fan. Massive. He is my favourite super-hero. Mainly due to the fact that he is not of alien origin, has no mutation and was not created due to chemical accidents. He made sacrifices and decisions. He learned his skills and trained hard.

What has a nocturnal crime fighter have to do with live streaming of sport? Nothing really, only that when I went to write this piece, Selina Kyle’s “there’s a storm coming” quote from the Dark Knight Rises popped into my head and I wanted to tie into this piece.

For that is what indeed is coming, a storm. Sport streaming as we know is about to change; for the better.

We know the traditional landscape. Sky, BT and their US equivalents charge a monthly subscription to access to sport channels; out bidding each other to make league’s and club’s very rich.

On Saturday 30th July; Aston Villa made history as they became the first English professional football club to stream a full match using Facebook Live. The game against Middlesbrough was powered by StreamAMG and enabled the club to reach over half their global Facebook fan base with via streaming to Facebook Live,

The history will continue tonight when Manchester United and Everton become the first ever Premier League teams to stream live on Facebook. The game will be broadcasted streamed on both the Manchester United Facebook page and Wayne Rooney’s official page and will be available to a global audience of 1.7 billion people.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of reports that the multinational is paying sports teams and athletes more than $4 million to use their live platform.

With Twitter recently signing a deal to steam Thursday night NFL games; it’s first foray into live streaming, one that was followed by a deal with the Premier League to instantly show goals, the streaming space is recently starting to heat up.

The company is reported to have paid around $10 million to live-stream the 10 NFL games and should help the fortunes of a company struggling to attract new users and expand its content beyond the posts of journalists and celebrities.

Snapchat has also gotten involved with the NFL to develop the first ever sports channel for the mobile app’s Discover tab. By swiping left on the app, users can now seek out NFL videos made for Snapchat alongside football news and popular topics of interest.

Youtube got in the act back in May when they live streamed the Europa League and Champions league final in a deal with BT. The significance of the deal was the fact that data and not cash changed hands.

In return for allowing Youtube stream the games; BT got access to the users that “tuned in” and were allowed to digitally target them to buy BT products.

It was a novel and brave move; one that had benefits. If BT can convert users to their platform; the live-time value would make it a worthwhile risk.

Data is the key. While the increased engagement is of huge appeal, the capture of key data and the advertising opportunities it brings to social network has an even bigger appeal.

The leagues and clubs benefit too. Manchester United, the NFL and the Premier League are all acutely aware of that a growing number of fans have no issue streaming video over the Internet as they avoid the costs of subscription based channels and this is a chance to reach that audience. The next step from the club is how they transition and manage them.

What’s very interesting in all of this is the transition of social media platforms from second screen companions to first and second screen. Social media has long been the companion of TV channels; the place where fans joined in, created noise around a sporting event or game and spread the word.

Now the social channels are becoming rivals. Big rivals that have the audience and potentially the budget to acquire the right. The future of sport and the rights packages could be split in the future between streaming rights and traditional TV rights ensuring the powerbrokers at the major sports continue to line their pockets.


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