Getting young people to pay to watch sport on television is a big challenge

Getting young people to pay to watch sport on television is a big challenge


It has been a long process, actually. Pay TV started in Europe in 1984, with Canal+
in France, and the success of Canal+ made it possible for other players to launch the
pay TV activities, like Sky in the UK, and pay TV became a big success and then they
were able to buy sports and, of course, people had to pay to watch sport from that time. Young people in particular, especially students,
don´t pay and if you are a broadcaster and say that the experience of watching a game on my platform is richer, automatically, the fan doesn’t care. What the fan wants to see is the live game,
period. Piracy. Today, piracy has grown a lot; all these young
guys know piracy better than you and me, and they know how to watch their favorite teams
and football games for free on internet. Young people don’t want to pay, but they
are big fans. Older peple, people from my generation, are
used to paying, but of course the business of pay TV is in danger because it will decline
slowly along with the age of its customers. Persuading young people to pay is a big challenge. Definitely, the best football league in the
world is the Premier League, but I wouldn’t personally invest in
it because it’s too expensive. Today, if we talk about how the games are
filmed, the leagues are taking control over the content. It means that in the past you had the situation
where the leagues were selling their rights and telling the broadcasters who wanted the
rights, ‘you are in charge of the production’, but that’s no longer the case. Today, the leagues want to produce the images
themselves so they have full control over what is shown to the public. If you are a broadcaster and you broadcast
one UEFA product, like the Champions League, the Europa League, the Euros or the qualifiers,
you will sign a more than 50-page-long contract in which you have very precise obligations
as to what you can and cannot show. Football clubs are never happy, they always
want more money. The revenue splits can vary from one league
to another, but usually a big part of the TV revenues is shared equally among the clubs
and then another part will be shared taking the ranking into consideration, or other factors
that are good for the biggest clubs. The biggest clubs always want more money and
that’s how it works today. Definitely, because if you invest in a football
club and you know that due to a media deal with a pay TV channel you will be guaranteed
x revenues for the next three years, of course you can find an investor who wants to do it. Until recently, consumers had no choice, had
no power and could only decide whether to subscribe or not. Today, again with piracy, the consumer can
choose to stream and watch football games for free, although it’s illegal. But it’s a choice and a lot of young people
do it. We see a lot of this kind of ideas in the
press, saying that Facebook, Google, Amazon, are going to spend billions on media rights. Today it is not true. These companies are cautious, they are investing
in sports rights, but not a lot of money. They are cautious because they don’t compete
for top premium rights, they won’t compete with Sky in the UK for the Premier League
rights, they won’t compete against Telefónica in Spain for LaLiga rights. What they are doing is very clever. Amazon is buying some Premier League rights
in the UK, but for them it’s a minor investment and they are not the most attractive rights. They seem to be wanting to test the market. Facebook has been buying some rights in India
and in America, but again they are not premium or exclusive rights, and they are not paying
a lot. They are also testing the market. Maybe one day they will make a bigger investment. Maybe. Unlike the othe tech giants, Netflix has issued
an official statement saying ‘we are not interested in sport, we won’t do sport’. On the other hand, there could be a Netflix
of Sport. There is a company called DAZN that calls
itself the Netflix of Sport. The Netflix of Sport would be a very good
answer to piracy because we saw with movies and series that people are ready to pay for
Netflix, so a Netflix of Sport at a decent price definitely could get young viewers to
pay. We have had continuous and spectacular growth
since the 80s in this market. Astonishing growth. Will it stop? When will it stop? Will it continue growing? Will it even continue to grow faster? A lot of people think that what we are seeing
today is that the growth comes from the competition between agencies and it looks like a bubble. And this bubble could burst. We could go back to a certain reallity and
the reallity is exactly what the user is ready to pay.

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