Last week, I was delighted to take part in a panel discussion at Major Events International’s Hosts & Federations Summit. The first thing to say is that it was great to be back attending a conference in person!
The pandemic has expedited digitisation at an unprecedented rate but there will always be a need for physical experiences. As sports fans we appreciated this more than most. Many of us live for live sport, either watching or playing.
Joymo was created on this very premise. We wanted to connect people with live events, even if they could not physically attend.
Many sports rights holders have already recognised this trend and have launched their own OTT platforms for super fans of their sports who want to watch anytime and anywhere. But, there are still many who, for a variety of reasons, have not moved beyond social media as a means of content distribution.
Cost is often the most significant barrier and at the summit last week I was keen to reiterate that, thankfully, we have reached a stage where direct-to-consumer OTT is now accessible for all.
There has long been a perception that launching owned and operated services is expensive and resource-heavy but Joymo is providing an alternative: democratising access with cost-effective solutions for those that want to start streaming, and selling digital passes through an integrated micro payment service, tomorrow.
Our model takes the back-end/tech infrastructure build, that is a concern to many Federations and rights holders, out of their hands and leaves them to focus on content delivery, marketing and maximising revenues around the live stream.
This is important in a post-pandemic world, where costs and funding are under scrutiny, and at a time when the number of people streaming content is increasing each year. We are empowering organisations to start building the future of their sport, its competitions and events, today.
Another important theme my panel covered was the topic of social media and how it can be best utilised.
My view is that social platforms remain an incredibly powerful marketing tool - perhaps the best for reaching audiences at scale - but the most valuable marketing asset for sports rights holders is their IP and data.
We still speak to a lot of federations that have built huge audiences on social media platforms but extract very little direct value in terms of data capture or revenues.
Owning and operating your own OTT platform enables you to consolidate, ring fence and control content in a centralised location and build a direct relationship with your fans. This drives more data and greater monetisation potential.
Social media, and its many applications (YouTube, Twitter, Tik Tok etc), should absolutely be used as key marketing tools to help build awareness, reach and engagement outside of live coverage. But O&O is the Pareto principle in action with the ability to drive significant value from a hardcore audience that live for live.
We are seeing this in action with disruptive new events and formats that have launched recently where a direct-to-consumer broadcast proposition sits at the centre, for example the Professional Triathlon Tour, Premier Padel and the International Swimming League.
In sport, so much focus is on top-tier rights and we know it’s difficult for all Federations to find the right media distribution partners for their events. Our answer is simple - create your own.
By building your own content and IP it provides you with the opportunity to prove long-term direct value of your rights to media partners, who can deliver broader reach, and sponsors, too..
Combat sports such as UFC and Bellator are great examples of those who built highly engaged niche communities and developed them to the point that they are now seen as premium rights holders attracting mainstream global distribution partners.
We are proud to have partnered with UK-based MMA promoter Caged Steel, a new niche MMA community, in a deal that enables them to open their product up to a global audience through Joymo’s streaming services.
This partnership underlines our laser focus on helping to create the next big success story in sport, using OTT to unlock that potential.