Multi Screen Media (MSM) has announced the launch of LIVSports, a digital sports entertainment destination that will present one-point access to the mix of sports and entertainment across digital devices. Coming from the Sony Network, LIVSports will target both ? the avid sports fan as well as the closet entertainment seekers. In a conversation with FE Brandwagon?s Anindita Sarkar, Nitesh Kripalani, executive vice president ? New Media, Business Development and Digital/Syndication at Sony Entertainment Network gives insights into the new launch and potential of the new platform to tap viewers and advertisers within the emerging digital ecosystem.
What is the insight behind launching a channel like LIVSports.in?
At MSM, we are very focused on the digital market. Even before the launch of SonyLIV in January 2013, we were very clear that different consumers exhibit different user interface, user experience and therefore different consumption patterns. While entertainment users don?t like too much of data and statistics, avid, hard-core sports fans will not want to watch a TV soap. Hence, there was always the need to build separate properties for different target groups. Also, when in January this year we streamed the India-New Zealand series live on SonyLIV, we realised that sports on the digital platform is consumed as a second screen experience. The sport fans came in the thousands and millions and watched live streaming of all the matches. On the contrary, only a small percentage stayed back to watch the TV shows and entertainment content. Therefore, we decided to build LIVSports to empower the sports fan with deep statistics on video as well as engage with the fence sitters.
How do you plan to engage the viewers and thereby monetise the FIFA World Cup on this platform?
LIVSports is the official mobile and internet broadcaster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. It is a free to download application. However, the HD streaming of the match will have a small one-time charge that users can pay via multiple methods. For the 2014 FIFA World CupTM, LIVSports will have live matches with 4 different camera angles; interactive time-line with the ability to watch key moments in the match; live statistics, match centre, heat maps and analysis; best goals, team features; news and sports editorials and archive football videos amongst others. We are giving consumers two options? either to watch the live HD quality match by paying a small fee or to watch the 5-minutes delayed match for free. All other content?video on demand, stats, analysis and engagements are available for free to users across devices.
We are partnering with brands to offer them solutions to engage with the youth on football. We?ve already signed up with three partners for LIVSports? broadcast of the tourney. Amity University, Gionee Mobile and Jabong.com. We are in discussion with other brands as well.
How is the digital territory placed in the sports broadcasting space?
Digital, video, online and mobile are fairly new in sports broadcasting. With the increase in the bandwidth and internet penetration, content consumption through videos is only on a northward move. Now, with live sports, a publisher/broadcaster need to have very good infrastructure in place in order to have a large number of users watching the live streaming of the match together, in high quality. We are getting there slowly. As per the recent Mobile Sports Report released by Adobe, watching sports online or on mobile devices is the primary driver of the continued worldwide growth in digital video consumption. According to the report, sports video streams increased 640%, year-on-year, compared to an overall growth of 440% for all types of content. However, monetisation of video inventory in sports is hard to find, since legally licensed rights are expensive and it requires the marketing bandwidth to reach out to the target user group.
Apart from FIFA 2014, what are the other formats that would be screened on this platform?
While its the FIFA 2014 Wold Cup that will be the first to stream on this latest platform, over the next few months, viewers will be able to catch up with the widest range of sporting content, including football, NBA, UFC, tennis and cricket on LIV Sports.