Beyond Cable: Laminar's Insights on Sports Broadcasting in the Streaming Era
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By Anas AbbasiAs the sports broadcasting industry stands at a tipping point, Laminar is not just a spectator but a key player in this (r)evolution.
The last decade has been witness to the most prominent transition in the broadcasting industry. In the realm of sports broadcasting, this evolution has been even more pronounced. As we approach 2024, we're anticipating a watershed moment in sports broadcasting. The industry is at the cusp of a major overhaul, shifting from legacy cable and satellite models to streaming-centric approaches. This shift isn't a mere trend or just about changing technologies; it's a fundamental change in viewer habits and preferences.
At Laminar, we are not just witnessing this transformation; we are at the forefront, driving it. In this article, we delve into the nuances of these shifts and illustrate how Laminar's cutting-edge solutions are perfectly aligned to meet these emerging challenges in sports broadcasting.
Decline of Traditional Models
At its peak, traditional TV commanded a reach of over 100 million households in the US. However, this dominance has been steadily eroding. By 2018, connected TV had already surpassed traditional TV in terms of reach. Fast forward to 2023, and the landscape reveals a stark contrast: traditional TV's reach has dwindled to 56.6 million households, nearly half the reach of connected TV, which stands impressively at 115.1 million. This stark contrast underscores a dual reality: the meteoric rise of streaming alongside the precipitous decline of traditional TV.
Moreover, the traditional model's inability to offer personalised content and flexible viewing options has contributed to its decline. In contrast, streaming services have capitalised on these very aspects, attracting viewers with tailored content recommendations and the convenience of on-demand viewing. Not to mention the various ways in which media companies or content owners can monetise from this — SVOD, AVOD, TVOD, along with Live content — or any permutation and combination of these.
At Laminar, we have meticulously crafted our platform to facilitate the smoothest transition for our clients from traditional broadcasting to streaming. We ensure content availability across all devices, breaking the limitations of geographical and device-specific constraints. Our solution integrates global tax management and built-in payment systems, simplifying the monetisation process for our clients in various markets.
Shifting Consumer Habits
The landscape of how viewers consume content has undergone a radical transformation, far beyond the mere shift in viewing numbers from traditional TV to streaming platforms. Modern viewers demand more than just passive consumption; they seek interactivity, customisation, and flexibility something traditional broadcasting cannot accommodate. Additionally, the rise of second-screen experiences — where viewers use smartphones or tablets to engage with additional content or continue watching content from the previous device — is reshaping the viewing experience. Moreover, the younger demographic increasingly leans towards highlights and on-demand recaps, favouring platforms that also offer bite-sized, engaging content over sitting through hours of live broadcasts.
At Laminar, we are acutely aware of these evolving consumer habits and have tailored our technology to address these trends. Our drag-and-drop UI builder allows our clients to create white-labelled streaming services that are not just user-friendly but highly personalised, catering to the unique preferences of their audience. This capability ensures that viewers can navigate content intuitively, finding exactly what they're interested in, be it live games, highlights, or in-depth analyses.
Our marketing engine plays a pivotal role in helping our clients understand and respond to viewer behaviour. By leveraging data-driven insights, they can craft targeted marketing strategies and content offerings that resonate with their audience, thereby maximising viewer engagement.
In essence, we help our clients not only to adapt to these shifting consumer habits but to stay ahead of the curve. By maximising reach and minimising costs, our platform ensures that our clients remain competitive in a market that is rapidly moving away from traditional content consumption paradigms.
The Plight of Regional Sports Networks (RSNs)
The struggles of RSNs in the US are emblematic of the broader challenges facing traditional broadcasters. Diamond Sports Group, the largest operator of RSNs, with its staggering $9 billion debt and ongoing bankruptcy proceedings, is a telling case in point. However, Diamond is not alone in this predicament.
Several RSNs are grappling with similar challenges — declining subscriber bases, increasing rights fees, and the struggle to adapt to a rapidly changing media landscape.
One significant issue is the traditional reliance on cable and satellite distribution, which limits the potential reach and flexibility in a digital-first world. As viewers increasingly migrate, RSNs have been slow to respond, often tied down by long-term contracts and legacy technology systems. This inertia has been costly, with many RSNs facing a shrinking market and diminished revenues.
Furthermore, the traditional RSN model, heavily reliant on live game broadcasts, has been challenged by the growing popularity of on-demand and personalised content.
In this context, Laminar's technology emerges as a critical lifeline. Our AI-powered CMS and robust data analytics tools empower RSNs to gain deeper insights into their audience's preferences and behaviours. This understanding enables them to curate more engaging and relevant content, moving beyond just live broadcasts to include a variety of programming that resonates with a diverse viewer base.
Additionally, our platform facilitates a more direct and dynamic relationship between RSNs and their audiences. By leveraging our streaming technology, RSNs can expand their reach beyond traditional geographic boundaries, tapping into new markets and demographics. This expansion is not just about reaching more viewers; it's about building a sustainable, future-proof business model that thrives on innovation and adaptability. By providing advanced streaming solutions, we help these networks transition from outdated models to a more flexible, responsive, and profitable future.
Challenges and Opportunities in Monetising Broadcast Rights
The transition away from traditional broadcasting models presents a complex array of challenges and opportunities, particularly in monetising broadcast rights. In the traditional setup, revenue models were largely built on cable subscriptions and advertising sales. However, with the decline in cable TV subscriptions and the fragmentation of audiences across various platforms, these revenue streams are no longer as robust or reliable.
For instance, the shift in viewing habits means that content owners must now navigate the intricacies of digital rights management, a far more dynamic landscape compared to traditional broadcasting. The emergence of global streaming platforms has also introduced new competitors for local and regional sports broadcasters, complicating the rights negotiation landscape.
Today, the monetisation of broadcast rights is no longer just about securing deals with cable networks. It's about building direct relationships with viewers and creating diverse revenue streams that reflect the changing dynamics of content consumption.
Yet, these challenges are accompanied by significant opportunities. The direct-to-consumer (D2C) model, facilitated by streaming technology, opens up avenues for more personalised and engaging viewer experiences. This model not only offers potential for increased subscription revenues but also opens up new possibilities for targeted advertising and sponsorships, leveraging viewer data to deliver more relevant and effective ad content.
At Laminar, we recognise these challenges and have developed solutions tailored to navigate and capitalise on this new landscape. Our comprehensive suite of tools provide our clients with robust infrastructure for streaming services ensuring our clients can focus on content and viewer engagement, while we take care of all the technical and administrative complexities.
Additionally, our advanced analytics tools provide invaluable insights into viewer behaviour and preferences. This data is crucial for our clients to tailor their offerings, enhance viewer engagement, and develop more effective monetisation strategies, be it through subscriptions, pay-per-view models, or ad-supported content.
As the sports broadcasting industry stands at a tipping point, Laminar is not just a spectator but a key player in this (r)evolution. We empower media companies or content owners with the technology and support they need to navigate these changes successfully. Our platform is more than just a streaming solution – it's a gateway to the future of broadcasting, ensuring that our clients are always one step ahead.