Sportradar Director of Digital Platforms, Felix Blank, explains how data is an essential component of any OTT strategy, particularly when it comes to enhancing the user experience for younger, more tech-minded audiences.
The OTT industry and the modern media landscape is barely recognisable from when Sportradar began operating in the space nearly two decades ago.
What began as a fairly primitive industry, with publishers using ‘placeholder’ images and one-size-fits-all content, has evolved to a point where outlets can tailor their output to audience segments and fine tune their monetisation strategies using data-driven insights.
There is nothing to say that trajectory won’t carry on as companies continue to innovate and, in what is becoming an increasingly splintered media landscape packed with features to cater to on-demand consumption habits, everyone is searching for new ways to keep users engaged for longer.
As a business founded on accurate, reliable statistics and information, we believe data will always be the key to both engaging with audiences and properly monetising a digital ecosystem.
Regarding the former, with the advancements in scalable flexible OTT technology, opportunities are plentiful when it comes to additions and features that can enhance user engagement, especially among younger and increasingly tech-savvy generations.
Such audiences increasingly want elements of interaction, social features and gamification such as betting overlays and odds, meaning rights holders should be increasingly striving to perfect this formula in order to both establish and maintain direct-to-consumer relationships.
Breaking down each aspect individually, betting-centric content is one area that has been proven to keep people watching for longer, without the need to divert attention elsewhere for the latest lines and odds updates.
That trend looks set to grow in the US too following the repeal of PASPA and the opening of the door to legalised gambling in the States. A recent Nielsen study showed that 65% of people said they were more likely to discuss a game via social media if they had placed a bet on it.
Alongside that, there is the additional value bettors have in terms of advertising revenue potential, especially in what’s proving a competitive and complex landscape in the States.
Gamification doesn’t necessarily need to be involve real money either.
Fantasy sports and games can be easily integrated into OTT platforms and add a new dimension to the experience. Plus, by offering rewards or discounts for interacting, you can tie the content into the monetisation approach in a non-direct yet efficient and inventive way.
The social aspect of modern video consumption is another option rights holders are increasingly looking towards, with younger audiences in particular wanting an element of interaction or conversation as part of their viewing experience.
Social media overlays and the inclusion of social content can enhance a platform and grow engagement with a sport or competition as well as the use of interactive quizzes, which also keep audiences interested.
Huge rights holders, including our partners at the major US sports leagues, are fuelling fan engagement through advanced data insights while the Conference Alarm feature we developed alongside T-Mobile for Magenta Sport is a prime example of being user-focused but also keeping OTT as simple as possible in terms of the overall experience.
The Conference Alarm is a notification overlay that allows users to switch between games on the platform when there is a goal or notable incident so they never miss an important moment.
Ultimately whatever combination a platform owner opts for in terms of overlays and additions as they seek the best possible user experience, decisions around the strategy require high quality data in the same way monetisation approaches rely on insightful user info.
By using relevant statistics and information from the given sport you make any platform a more engaging place to be for the viewer while content owners can then leverage user information and viewing habits when it comes to decisions on future output and monetisation formulas.
Regardless of sport, platform owner or strategy – flexible, data-driven solutions hold the key to unlocking the digital ecosystem within OTT.
Download Sportradar’s whitepaper, the Future of the OTT Experience, for further insight into how data can transform user experience across the OTT landscape, including comment and analysis from some of the sports media industry’s leading figures and organisations.
Learn more about how to effectively engage the modern fan & consumer at Hashtag Sports, an annual conference designed for media and marketing professionals.