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How the Rise of D2C is Impacting Advertising in Live Sports

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This blog is the second in a two-part series on how direct-to-consumer streaming is re-shaping the media landscape. Read part one here. The live sports streaming marketplace is evolving at speed as new players challenge the traditional broadcast model. The recent UEFA Champions League rights distribution exemplifies this, split between three organizations for the first time with Amazon, TNT Sports, and BBC sharing the rights from 2024. Sports rights holders are face mounting pressures to maximize ROI on costly sports properties in a competitive landscape. As a result, crafting a bulletproof go-to-market strategy has never been more critical. The affordability and quality of streaming technology today are fueling the adoption of direct-to-consumer (D2C) strategies as organizations look to harness new monetization streams. However, delivering live sports content at a premium quality and at a global scale is a complex endeavor, particularly when it comes to enabling effective and reliable advertising workflows.

New opportunities in online video advertising

Ad experiences often disappoint viewers due to excessive repetition and quality issues. Many rights-holders are missing out on achieving a higher CPM through a lack of personalization and measurement. A cohesive D2C strategy enables sports organizations to comprehensively understand their audience by gathering data on interactions and spending habits. This data can be leveraged to deliver targeted advertisements, effectively promoting specific products and generating additional revenues. The aim is to provide fans with greater freedom, choice, and flexibility with their desired content, such as archived material, real-time stats, social media integration, and live in-game chats. As a result, the tailored fan ecosystem helps maximize monetization through personalized, fan-centric experiences.

Tackling ad complexity in a D2C environment

Despite positive momentum in the D2C space, organizations must not underestimate the complexity of advertising. Brands can seize the opportunity to build D2C offerings with high-quality advertising, but balancing a mix of first-party and third-party sold adds immense complexity and integrations with multiple ad networks. On top of that, content owners need to consider ad content preparation, brand safety, and real-time measurement. To execute a D2C strategy effectively, brands need best-in-class technical infrastructure. They need a platform to manage content and digital assets with broadcast-grade resilience and analytics integration. The infrastructure has to be flexible enough to adapt to market evolution and incorporate new technologies as they emerge.

Build, buy, or partner?

Resilience and flexibility are vital for managing complexity at a mass scale in a live environment where ad calls occur simultaneously. Choosing the right technology approach is crucial for rights owners to maximize inventory value in an era of spiraling costs. Traditionally, organizations have kept their tech in-house to capitalize. However, media companies are now increasingly turning to third-party vendors for best-of-breed solutions that support any business model and can adapt to shifting revenue strategies. Competition and complexity are both on the rise. Nevertheless, with the right strategy and the right partner to implement it, D2C providers have every chance of achieving lasting success on and off the field.

Uplynk provides a simplified and scalable workflow to power your streaming business

We offer a trusted, flexible solution that reduces complexity and helps media companies bring services to market quickly and cost-efficiently – empowering brands to focus on their business differentiators, audience growth, and content strategies. Uplynk provides the key foundation to stream the highest quality linear, live and on-demand video experiences to any global viewer, while harnessing any monetization strategy and scaling with minimal resource. Uplynk has handled hundreds of thousands of live events, and in 2022 alone generated 2.4 billion event views, 3.3 billion hours of streamed video, and 220 million hours of advertising.