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Inside the Rising Tide of Smart TV: A New Age of Sports Broadcasting Awaits 

January 31, 2024 • Smart Tv, sports broadasting
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Krishna Kumar

Role at Viewlift

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A recent Deloitte report on the future of the TV and Video industry by 2030 asked a pertinent question. “On-demand services will disrupt the TV and video industry. New market players such as Netflix or Amazon will soon replace traditional broadcasters. Consumers’ demand for TV and video consumption is fundamentally changing. Established players are increasingly confronted with this kind of alarming news about their positioning within the future TV and video landscape. But will these dramatic predictions really come true?” It’s a question that many of our customers and industry peers have been reflecting upon.

That the disruption in both consumer behavior and media consumption is already underway couldn’t be more apparent. Sports broadcasting is no different. Traditional players in this space can only navigate these times by adapting to the current changes and preparing for the future. A good place to start is Smart TV applications.

Growing audience access

In an age where convenience, personalization, and flexibility are the new normal for modern viewers, could Smart TVs be the new playing grounds for sports fans worldwide? This question resonates more than ever as Smart TVs become a staple in households across the globe, changing how sports content reaches its audience.

Consider the statistics: in just 3 years, 1.1 billion or over half of global households are expected to own a Smart TV. This ubiquitous presence offers sports broadcasters and content owners across leagues, clubs, and linear TV channels an unprecedented opportunity to expand their reach. By launching apps on these platforms, they become a core element of the daily lives of millions of new consumers – those that they couldn’t have reached using traditional media.

The appeal of Smart TV apps in sports broadcasting is grounded in the convenience they offer. The days of additional devices or cumbersome setups are numbered. Now, live sports, replays, and analyses are accessible at the touch of a button directly on TV screens. This ease of access is reflected in user behavior and affinity of streaming applications. Tour De France, for example, saw“record streaming audience” and double-digit year-on-year growth in live and on-demand content consumption. TV coverage, on the other hand, grew by 3%.

But this shift is not merely about numbers. It’s about a change in consumption culture. As more viewers gravitate towards Smart TVs for their sports content, broadcasters are presented with a unique opportunity: to reach a broader, more diverse audience than ever before, transforming every Smart TV-equipped household into a potential fan zone.

Immersive viewing experience, delivered home

A prime example of delivering an immersive experience is through multicam capabilities, a feature we built for Monumental Sports Network’s D2C property. Multicam content immerses viewers in the game, offering multiple camera angles, zooms, and perspectives. This is much like being in the stadium, but within the comfort of home.

But the innovation doesn’t stop at visual immersion. Smart TV apps are pushing the boundaries of personalization and viewer engagement. These platforms allow broadcasters to tailor content to individual preferences, creating a more personalized viewing experience.

Smart TV apps allow sports broadcasters to gather valuable data and analytics on viewer behavior, preferences, and engagement. This data can be utilized to optimize content strategies, improve user experiences, and tailor offerings based on audience interests. ViewLift customer NHL, for example, relaunched its app to boost the user experience, creating a customized feed of the latest highlights, condensed games, features, and other content. As part of the partnership, NHL has also launched a unique native User Interface (UI) on the upgraded app, enabling fans to select their favorite teams to access related video content on the app’s homepage.

Smart TV apps also provide an avenue for sports broadcasters to cater to a global audience by offering localized content, language support, and region-specific experiences. This localization can help better connect with diverse viewer demographics worldwide.

Features like interactive polls, quizzes, chats, forums, and the ability to choose camera angles enhance engagement and foster a sense of community among viewers. They transform passive viewership into an interactive experience, building a loyal fan base that feels actively involved in the content they love.

Sports broadcasters as ad platforms of choice, for viewers and advertisers

Massive ad dollar investments in the Superbowl in the US to IPL closer home in India, as well as audience preferences in how they spend money on streaming services, tell the story of this sport’s continued relevance for advertisers and brands.

With years of subscription expenses behind them, the early movers of streaming are showing a newfound affinity for ad-supported video on demand (AVOD). The model also removes barriers for new streaming app consumers to get on board. As of last year, a staggering 57% of US viewers preferred low-cost streaming with ads. But does their preference for advertising and lower viewing cost must mean a suboptimal viewing experience?

Smart TV apps’ real potential lies in their ability to gather nuanced insights into viewer preferences. This wealth of information allows for targeted content strategies and personalized user experiences, ensuring viewers stay engaged and loyal. For advertisers, these insights are invaluable. They enable more measurable and effective advertising, assuring that every ad reaches its intended audience with precision, maximizing return on investment.

As smart TV apps gain traction, they open up a spectrum of revenue opportunities beyond traditional advertising, offering broadcasters and advertisers alike a foray into uncharted territories of profitability and audience engagement. Subscription services turn viewers into long-term revenue sources, while premium content access caters to a segment willing to pay for exclusivity. Pay-per-view events tap into the excitement of live sports, providing a lucrative avenue during high-profile games. In-app purchases offer an interactive way for fans to buy merchandise or access specialized content, adding a new dimension to viewer engagement and revenue.

Smart TV apps, with their capability for targeted advertising and diverse monetization models, are well-positioned to address diverse consumer needs. They offer a blend of viewer-friendly advertising and revenue models that is both relevant and non-intrusive, aligning with modern viewers’ expectations.

Smart TVs set to redefine victory in sports broadcasting

The future of sports consumption is here. It’s smarter, more interactive, and more personalized than ever before. Traditional players in sports broadcasting must adapt to remain competitive. By integrating Smart TV applications into their strategies, they can align with the changing preferences of modern sports enthusiasts and the advertiser ecosystem. We are in a new era of viewer connection, engagement, and satisfaction, powered by smart TV technology’s intelligent, intuitive, and unlimited potential.