The data-driven future of OTT according to Sportradar

By Felix Blank, director, digital platforms at Sportadar

Broadcast and video are two of the most innovative sectors in the media industry and, within that, sport is undoubtedly at the heart of development and growth.

The industry has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, from linear broadcasts to the present day, which sees more traditional broadcasting coupled with over the top (OTT) offerings and social content.

At Sportradar, we believe data is crucial to all aspects of fan engagement and fostering relationships with audiences. Therefore, perhaps unsurprisingly, the use of data-driven insights coupled with sporting statistics features heavily in our predictions for 2020.

Increased focus on fan engagement

In what is a crowded media landscape, broadcasters and content owners need to be innovative and switched on if they’re to stand out from the crowd and keep viewers engaged for longer.

For many of our clients, and across the spectrum of OTT platforms, we’re seeing increased use of gamification tools such as quizzes and polls as well as engagement-focused overlays such as betting odds.

Any tactic that means users don’t have to leave platforms to get their odds or information will continue to prove popular next year as well as the continued development of betting entertainment when it comes to live sports.

Betting infotainment is already fairly prevalent in Europe, with odds forming part of broadcasts and bookmakers increasingly looking to use video content to showcase their products and services, and we expect the emerging US market to follow suit.

While itself still an emerging market, the democratisation and spread of betting will continue on a state-by-state level in the US to the point where we believe sports broadcasting will embrace the strategy of embedding betting much more directly into their offering, something we already see in Europe and further afield.

Direct to customer relationships

One of the major shifts (and benefits,) of a move away from linear broadcasting to OTT and on-demand content is that it drives personalisation and helps create interactive, two-way, direct to customer relationships.

Not only does that help customers get the content and overall video package they want, it also offers opportunities to the rights owners in terms of creating the most engaging and relevant content while also opening the door to more targeted monetisation options such as personalised advertising and sponsorship opportunities.

This is already happening and rights holders are tailoring both their content and their advertising options but we’ll see that continue as organisations become more adept at analysing and understanding their fans’ consumption habits.

It’s a triple win for all stakeholders involved; customers get the content they want, platform owners understand more about users and potential sponsors can be attracted by a clearer picture of their target audience.

Data-driven storytelling

Data will become an even more prevalent part of storytelling for publishers, media outlets and rights holders. New data points and KPIs for sport will help broadcasters and content owners tell more engaging stories; a particular boost for the more traditional sports who are looking for new ways to attract younger, more tech-savvy audiences.

By creating more engaging storylines and personalising content to audiences, rights holders can then create long-lasting relationships and use the ensuing insights to fine-tune their monetisation approach.

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