YouTube a tax for media owners, not a choice
The Drum's article “What Sky Sports gains from making Premier League highlights free on YouTube” is just another example of how the tech giants are disrupting the media landscape, taking aim at broadcasters, publishers and governing bodies' most premium and valued content: sport. With YouTube (YT) claiming it’s morphing into a TV provider, their EMEA Head of Sport, Tomos Grace, talks about the strategic benefit of sport highlights content on the YT platform, how it’s making broadcasters money while helping them reach younger audiences.
- YT is ramping up its commercial offering to broadcasters and publishers to encourage them to distribute more content on their platform. YT claim results have been positive through ad revenue sharing as viewership of EPL games highlights have grown significantly, therefore scale = more dollars
- Both Sky Sports and BT Sport have allegedly seen great growth of new audiences through a distributed content approach on YT
- YT claims to support media businesses and sports rights holders by overtly driving users back to a brand's owned and operated channel, in this case Sky Sports, to pick up a subscription from the user.
Global tech giants who now dominate the media landscape have demonstrated they aren’t going away. For brands and media owners, they aren’t a choice, they are a tax.
Notwithstanding there are zero quotes from anyone at Sky Sports or BT Sports and this is a YouTube piece talking about great opportunities the platform opens up for traditional media providers, the article is still relevant for all content creators and media outlets who every day, ponder their future content strategy, audience growth, addressability and a sustainable revenue model.
Depending on your objective, distributing high value content such as sports highlights could be thought of as the worst media plan of all time. But if the aim is to grow the game, recruit new fans and connect with new audiences – YouTube may just be one of the best marketing strategies for getting content in front of new, potential audiences.
Game highlights are the equivalent to a movie trailer: a teaser showing the best bits to get people to go to the movies and watch the feature length film on the big screen. Similarly the opportunity to get users to make sure they watch a game in full next week, or seek further content about the previous weeks games through extended highlights programmes and shows aimed at dissecting the game by a panel of experts, i.e. Access all Areas, is compelling when we think about not just a new audience play, but also a way to increase engagement of the current fan base. And ultimately for anyone who has seen a highlights clip and watched the game, in full and live – you would know there is no comparison in the experience, it's simply a different type of content.
A distributed media approach is a must for brands who are for “everyone” – which sport is. Striking the balance between marketing your content to new audiences and maintaining certain content for your “main stage” (owned and operated channels and media partners) – is the key and this will be a constant trial and require continual investment into content and audience data / analytics.
To reduce the friction between broadcasters, publishers and platforms such as YT, there must be 100% support for media owners to be able to monetise their content in a sustainable way and have access to their audiences on a 1:1 level.