“When you aggregate niche sports, suddenly they become a big deal” – Glen Killane on the EBU’s new OTT service

In February this year, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) launched a digital direct-to-consumer streaming platform that will show free-to-air coverage of a range of Olympic sports including athletics, gymnastics, skiing and swimming, plus others such as electric racing. EBU executive director for sport Glen Killane – who will take part in a fireside chat at SVG Europe’s Create Share Engage event in May – explains why the EBU launched the service, the type of content available on the platform and its approach to distribution.

SVG Europe: What is the strategy behind launching a free OTT sports platform in Europe, and how does it aim to address the challenges faced by federations?

Glen Killane: It’s a complimentary streaming service for the sports that our members broadcast and stream, which we will finance through advertising, sponsorship and other commercial activities but it will be free to consume for the public, with no barriers to entry.

We will aggregate dozens of sports together in one place and take the pain out of discoverability for audiences and help rightsholders find new audiences. Many sports are finding it very difficult to get airtime on traditional TV channels and networks, and some of those sports have ended up with no option but to go on pay services; sports that are not geared for a pay tv environment.

This has resulted in them losing visibility and not having revenues to compensate for that. Many sports have developed their own OTT services, which often end up being like a cathedral in the desert: looks great, does everything you need it to but without enough people visiting the site. We believe our new platform Eurovisonsport.com provides a solution to this dilemma for audiences and sports federations alike.

We’re effectively playing to our strengths here, which is that we’re extremely good at promoting, marketing and reaching large audiences. We aim to to harness our incredible reach by embedding within our member platforms, acting like a channel – where that’s possible – within our members’ platforms.

What type of content are you looking to share – will it all be live or will there be much in the way of post-produced content?

It will predominantly be live – maybe an 80:20 or 90:10 split, but on demand is very much part of it; archive could be part of it. But we’re setting ourselves up predominantly to focus on live streaming, live sports and making it easy for the for the public to access.

The genesis of this was really what we’ve seen in things like the European Championships or the Olympic Games; when you aggregate certain sports that might struggle to find audiences on their own, we create a very compelling dynamic.

Glen Killane: EBU executive director for sport

We’re trying to extract value from markets where the traditional, old system of selling rights is really just falling apart; that old system of selling market-by-market rights for things that are not the Premier League or the World Cup Final is very difficult. So in effect we are looking to create a market where there is no market.

Our primary objective and main goal is to support our members in acquiring great sports content, if there is no buyer in a particular market for whatever reason, then the platform can play an important role in ensuring that we can serve that audience with our members.

How can viewers access the platform and how is that likely to evolve?

We’re on iOS and Android, you can run via desktop as well – eurovisionsport.com – and we are promoted by our members in certain members in certain territories, but and we’re now really focusing on the embedding of the platform within as many of our members as possible; that’s a technical fix that will take some months to complete but we are moving at pace now.

And we want to be discovered on federation platforms as well, so we will embed within European Athletics, Biathlon and World Athletics and any other partners willing to work with us, we take a lot of cost out of the equation for federations as well. We will look to go on connected TVs in the coming months also.

To find out more about the EBU’s plans for its Eurovision Sport streaming platform, join Glen Killane at SVG Europe’s Create Share Engage event on 23 May at Kings Place in London.

For more information and to register visit svgeurope.org/create-share-engage


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