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A safe bet: the opportunities of OTT streaming

By - 27 February 2020

G3 discusses the hot betting topic, Over The Top Streaming, with Sportradar’s Steve Byrd, Head of Global Strategic Partnerships.

The streaming landscape has become ultra- competitive. How can OTT service providers give the younger generation of fans the consumption experiences they crave?

You’re right to say streaming and OTT is part of an increasingly competitive modern landscape, with bookmakers, sports leagues and publishers all trying to keep audiences engaged with their content.

While different stakeholders are using some of the same types of content to tap into broadly similar audience segments, there remain opportunities when it comes to personalisation and providing features designed to enhance user engagement among younger and more tech- savvy generations.

These audiences increasingly want elements of interaction, social features and gamification as part of their viewing experience. It’s a case of building on that desire for second-screening by incorporating betting overlays, odds and other betting-centric content to keep users engaged while also establishing and maintaining direct- to-consumer relationships.

Betting features are proven to keep people watching for longer, without taking users off platforms for the latest lines and odds updates, while, as part of the democratisation of betting, eventually the ability to bet live within platforms will become more commonplace.

What personalisation opportunities are out there for OTT sports coverage?

Opportunities are plentiful when it comes to personalisation, whether that’s for sports, betting operators or publishers.

By using data to learn more about audience consumption habits, you can begin to tailor output based on what users want to watch, for how long and when. Not only does this enable the streamlining of content production through more informed decision making, it makes platforms a much more attractive place for sponsors such as bookmakers.

Being more aware of your viewers’ preferences – whether that’s in terms of sports, teams or players – also allows bookmakers to be increasingly targeted in their approach, platform owners to enhance their monetisation formula and viewers to be delivered more relevant and specific content.

How has the US Supreme Court’s repeal of a federal ban on sports betting in May 2018 impacted real-money gamification opportunities in OTT sports coverage?

Development since the repeal of PASPA has been going incredibly well, and we are seeing certain trends begin to form.

In terms of OTT and audiovisual’s role stateside, we will begin to see a greater variety of productions aimed at different people in much the same way that many of the regional broadcasters in the US have begun to test out betting commentary and content on the screen.

Regarding gamification, the democratisation of betting means eventually you’ll be able to bet quickly and easily within platforms. We’re also seeing a growing trend for non-financial gamification like peer-to-peer competitions, quizzes, polls and fantasy additions, but more so in areas with stricter regulations around betting.

Could you explain the relationship between in- play betting and OTT platforms?

It’s no secret that gamification and personalisation are two of the key points around OTT and digital content currently. In-play betting is one way of improving both those areas and enhancing fan engagement.

In-play betting also serves as another way to keep fans engaged with the sport they are watching, whether that’s via OTT platforms or through bookmaker channels. The ability to customise betting offerings based on the content in question makes the viewing experience more personalised.

What role does data have in understanding one’s audience and maximising conversion and marketing income?

The role of data within OTT is twofold. Firstly, you have the sports data to keep users engaged with the content they’re watching. This includes fueling the overlays and statistical features that keep audiences tuned in and watching matches.

The second strand is the user data related to viewing habits and online consumption. OTT is a two-way street compared to linear broadcasting, with those customer insights serving as a vital tool when it comes to fine- tuning monetisation strategies and offering a more transparent product to sponsors.

By combining those two distinct types of data, you can fuel the entire OTT ecosystem, from keeping users engaged with the content to retention and monetisation.

How can OTT service providers and bookmakers align in terms of advertising and monetisation?

Ultimately, OTT platform owners and bookmakers want the same thing – for audiences to be engaged and staying on platforms longer. Using ad:s, we can connect rights holders and publishers with bookmakers. Then, by analysing and understanding fans’ viewing habits, we ensure audiences are served relevant and engaging content and marketing collateral, keeping them on platforms longer and making it more likely they will place a bet if they are inclined to.

Data-driven advertising can differentiate an OTT offering and allow bookmakers to make informed, targeted decisions on their advertising spend. Using readily available information about a user’s viewing habits and preferences around teams, leagues and sports, we can help bookmakers get in front of the right audiences at the best times on the most appropriate platforms.

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