The sports media sector has been massively impacted by the changes in viewing patterns that have emerged across the Content & Media industry. On Episode 20 of The Content & Media Matters Podcast we were joined by sport media veteran Ed Abis, who is the Managing Director at Dizplai. Ed has led an extensive career in the live sports and media space, having worked with Burnley FC and ITV, even helping Nike with their collaboration with Manchester United Soccer schools. Today Edie is focused on data visualisation solutions for the media and sports market. He shared his insights into the changing landscape of the sports media industry.
What has had the most impact on the sports media space in terms of the evolution of technology and the way we consume sports since you joined the industry?
I worked for the Perform Group (now Stats Perform) when they were at the forefront of creating sports streaming. We were working with global sports durations, and helping them to develop their commercial story and effectively monetize their content. I’ve worked with other companies during this advising fever as well, helping organisations get accessibility to their live sports, because it was felt that the sports broadcasting world would only focus on the biggest sports.
I was lucky enough to work with a great number of people and organisations where we were learning together and from each other. That was effectively a sports streaming revolution, because we were doing things that no one was doing before. Sometimes it went wrong, but not through having the fear. We innovated and I think immeasurably moved the industry forwards.
What would you say are the biggest challenges facing the sports media market today?
There is so much choice now. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens over the coming years in terms of what some entities will do. We’ve seen what’s happened with the merger between Discovery and BT Sport and there’s changes afoot there at a high level. I think it makes it difficult for consumers because they need to have so many subscriptions, because everyone in the house has a different preference. That is a challenge. But the opportunity as a consumer is to pick and choose what service I want to go and buy, which also means I have a choice that I’ve never had before. That’s exciting for consumers. I remember my days of working with The Equestrian Federation, which has a very niche audience, but they have a very high net worth and a very engaged audience as well. Their content won’t always be on the BBC or any other major broadcast because they’re not a major event supplier, but there are people who really want to watch it, and TEF can offer that simply and easily.
What are you most excited about for the future of sports media?
If certain things go to our competitors we all push each other. There are certain direct and indirect examples – one that we worked with is SkySports and their boxing, where we’ve worked with our product team and their product team to create an interactive boxing scorecard. That isn’t necessarily something new – there’s been some web based voting applications around for years – but what we’ve done is create an end to end solution so the audience feels a part of when they’re watching the boxing. They scan a QR code, and they are scoring the fight round by round. Producers understand that they need this payoff of saying to the audience, ‘This is how you are all voting for this fight right now’. I want to see more interactive innovations like that.
To learn more about developments happening in the sports media sector, tune into Episode 20 of The Content & Media Matters Podcast here.
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