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EDITORIAL OTT sports, telecoms and 5G – the perfect mix to score it big in 2019

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The nexus between sports and telecoms has arrived. The two have long had a close relationship, but finally they are as one. The rise of OTT sports content and the need to monetise clips and content has seen the two eyeing each other with growing interest. Now that interest has turned into a full-blown love affair.

According to research by Juniper Research, paying for sports content is going to be a big contributor to global consumer spending on digital content reaching $250 billion this year. Much of this will be made as impulse purchases on mobile devices as consumers chase not necessarily the whole match or game, but the best bits and highlights.

And this is something that telecoms – and telemedia – is ideally positioned to deliver.

According to James Macfarlane, Group CEO of UK-based mobile payment provider PM Connect, writing in telemedia this week, the confluence of impulse purchasing and content access makes carrier billing the ideal tool and telecoms the ideal medium for delivery.

We live in a world of streaming and subscriptions – but not everyone wants an on-going subscription to certain services; there is still a huge untapped need for occasional access to some content.

Think about it, the big matches – the Champions League final, the Wimbledon Final, the highlights of a great goal or even a semi-final – these things attract many more viewers than subscriber numbers suggest and these people don’t want to subscribe. But if you can tap them into paying a small amount for a temporary subscription or just access to one off bit of content, then content rights owners suddenly have another new revenue stream.

In this day and age of multi-million and even billion dollar rights deals, every little helps.

And this is where carrier billing and telecoms services come into their own. This is part of the reason why it is now commonplace to see telcos getting more involved in sport. Telstra, for instance, is playing a key role in delivering the International Relay Championships for Japan, utilising its network. It won’t be long before this is a standard delivery channel – and one that is monetizable.

The arrival of 5G is only going to accelerate this process. With 5G uptake by consumers much more rapid than predicted, Ericsson is forecasting that the 5G world of super fast, high def content is nearer to being a reality sooner than anyone expected.

Western Europe leads the way in 5Gand it too leads the way in OTT services, especially for sports. Soon we shall see 5G being the way to deliver content and with it the creation of a multi-tiered approach to monetising that content: from big old subs to one off micro-payments for a short clip.

The move to 5G is, of course, going to not only drive the move to OTT sports using telecoms, but a host of other content services that will similarly need to tap into telecoms and telemedia to survive

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Editor and content creator for Telemedia – for 18 years and counting

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