Seasonality in sports monetization can be overcome

Oct 16 2023

Published on Sports Business Journal here By Sam Peterson, Bitcentral

Monetization is a key driver in today’s media industry, where content creators can choose the monetization model that best suits their business. Sports broadcasters are no exception to this. However, the nature of sports delivery is different in that it has been driven by seasonality: From yearly events to individual games, sports broadcasters have had to contend with the time constraints of live content, which also limit monetization.

The good news is that there are many more opportunities for sports monetization outside of live content. New innovations in video archiving are enabling sports broadcasters to leverage the monetization potential of their archive content, allowing them to bridge the gaps between seasons and even games.

Building momentum between matches

Traditionally, the pause between games or between seasons represented an unavoidable dip in revenue for sports broadcasters. On the other hand, with a bank of broadcast-ready archive material, these “gaps” can be reframed as opportunities to strengthen fan engagement while maintaining and even boosting monetization. The obstacle to this ideal scenario is the task of preparing archive material to be ready for broadcast. By itself, this could be an immense and time-consuming task that would be beyond the capacity of many companies. However, these companies may not be aware of the fact that the capabilities of cloud storage can solve this issue through metadata with minimum input needed from the production team.

Monetizing with metadata

The role of metadata in cloud archiving is an automated process for organizing content. Compiling highlights of a particular team or player in the absence of metadata is time-consuming at best and not a sustainable practice for companies keeping pace with the 24/7 demand for content in today’s market. With metadata, it is possible to organize content along any recognizable criteria, whether it’s a particular player, highlights from a certain team, or any way that you might identify a piece of sports content; these clips can be tagged and grouped together to be instantly retrievable and ready for broadcasting. This process can make hundreds of hours of video content profitable. Metadata enhancement can also be used to increase the value of an existing piece of content through the addition of text transcripts based on audio files. Metadata can be continually updated to respond to changing business strategies or respond to how a sports season plays out to make more content available for broadcast depending on what audiences are currently responding to. Metadata will be an essential tool for both the purposes of monetization and future-proofing content in the long term.

Boosting fan engagement

One way to apply this process is to fill the space between games. In this way, the “pause” between games presents an opportunity to strengthen fan engagement through archive content. The benefits of year-round engagement are expanded monetization in the short term and a stronger brand presence in the long term, through more consistent engagement. The most loyal fans benefit from receiving selected highlights from years of content increasing fan engagement even further.

The way forward with archive content

The cloud is progressively becoming an integral part of our lives and cloud storage can be business critical in this process. With economic turbulence and a highly competitive streaming market, the best option for many media companies and sports organizations will be to maximize the use of their existing resources — years of archive video can have tremendous value that can be retrieved through cloud storage tools and metadata. Beyond sports, the direction that the wider media and entertainment industry is heading toward is one of constant and ongoing content delivery to meet the expectations of modern audiences.

Sam Peterson is chief operating officer at software company Bitcentral.

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