Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Sport Industry Group's partners have each taken steps to innovate, survive and excel during the lockdown period. From new product launches and pivots in strategy, to serving the market, clients and staff in innovative ways - we want to celebrate their work.
For the latest edition of the series, Working Through Lockdown, we spoke to Rich Cheary, CEO, PT SportSuite, about the organisation's new OTT platform.
The PT SportSuite Video OTT platform is a comprehensive streaming service tailored for sports organisations who want to grow and scale their digital fan communities.
PT SportSuite's entire toolbox of products are geared towards effective video OTT – AWS cloud storage, analytics, streaming and broadcasting of video content across compliant mobile apps, web platforms and social media, which helps guarantee scale, roadmap definition, simplicity and opportunity in a cost effective and risk-free manner.
Video OTT is more than just live streaming and on-demand video on a branded player. PT SportSuite’s streamlined “digital-first” workflow can be configured to meet the needs of large broadcasters as well as small club media teams.
What was the initial inspiration behind the OTT platform? How did it grow out of your existing offering?
The PT SportSuite Video OTT ecosystem has its roots in traditional broadcasting and digital publishing, as part of the Publisher’s Toolbox project.
We’ve all noticed the increased value of streaming sport. Be it live or on-demand – fans can’t get enough of it. Clubs are seeing up to 1,000% growth in digital streaming. It’s exciting times, and we encourage clubs to not delay the obvious call for digital acceleration of their services, by assessing their current processes and platforms in place to cater for a sustainable digital future.
Why do you feel the OTT platform is so important to the sport industry at the moment?
With only a certain amount of professional matches televised on broadcast television, coupled with the restriction on fans attending live games at the moment, video OTT is seen as a way for clubs to become reputable broadcasters in their own right, not just for the now, but for the future too.
You’ve seen how the shutting down of live sport financially crippled many traditional clubs within the UK and so video OTT provides an alternative for clubs looking to stay engaged and expand their digital communities, broadcast more video content, which in turn opens up opportunities for revenue growth via sponsored content, syndication and advertising.
What differentiates YOUR product from the others within the market?
It’s not just about configuring a video player, putting our branding on it and expecting people to bite.
We put a lot of emphasis on the process around searching and reusing video assets; meaning zero duplication of assets, single point of search and reusability, scheduled publishing, streaming and, most importantly, analytics.
Once a club’s video assets are within our PT SportSuite Amazon cloud ecosystem, the opportunities for intelligent media services is unlimited.
As sport fans ourselves, we understand the role that sport brings to people’s lives and this motivated us to tailor a solution that would be attractive for clubs of all sizes and shapes. We were confident we could provide value and short-term ROI in a cost-effective way.
Do you think the pandemic has allowed you to be more agile and creative, both with the launch of this product and across the entire business?
We’re blessed in that we have an existing product suite that does allow us that agility to react and configure solutions for multiple use cases, which is what we’ve looked to do with OTT across all platforms.
COVID-19 has positively impacted our sports platform; I say this, because the architecture and configuration capability has allowed us to react, adapt and apply ourselves appropriately towards the market’s prioritised needs - of which Video OTT has clearly been one.
The playing field has been turned upside down, and so clubs are needing to ensure the stability and reliability of digital services more now than ever.
How do you want to grow the OTT platform in the future? What strategic direction do you have planned for it?
In our mind, video OTT need not be separated from other digital channels, such as publishing or social media. Video is just another content type in the world of multimedia we all live in. In order to streamline operational workflows, one needs to consolidate processes, platforms and products on offer.
Yes, video may have different rights management, subscription entitlement, advertisers, and potentially audiences, and so clubs should ensure their video OTT platform is integrated into the overall digital ecosystem.
How do you feel the OTT platform can be adapted and used long after the lockdown/pandemic has passed?
The upside of OTT services for sports organisations will long outlive the pandemic and any return to normality - whatever that may look like.
The new generation of sports fans are voracious mobile consumers, all the statistics bear this out, and so the question is not if, but how sports organisations are going to provide the video content that younger fans crave and the flexibility in which to consume it.
Video OTT is a distribution channel, and we should not forget that the underlying platform (web and app) upon which video OTT integrates is where future stability and ability to scale resides. ROI on video OTT lies in how and on what devices video is produced, stored, accessed, reused, analysed and consumed.