For Periscope and Meerkat, May has been an interesting month. The recent Mayweather and Pacquiao fight highlighted some obvious issues with both apps copyright issues in relation to live streaming. Various screengrabs show some streams had up to 6,000 viewers or in financial terms roughly $600,000 of lost revenue.This figure represents only one stream of the many which were available on the night.
Although both apps have great potential for sponsorship and can provide these sponsors with direct fan interaction, the main issues with these apps lies in their ability to circumvent paying for content. HBO have seen users stream not just the Mayweather – Pacquiao fight but also the first episode of the fifth season of Game of Thrones.
This week Periscope released an update which allows user to sign up without the need for a Twitter account. This update essentially opens up the market allowing Periscope to become a platform on its own, it no longer has to rely on being “part of Twitter”.
Some organisations have already moved to ban the use of both apps. The National Hockey League (NHL) and The Professional Golf Association (PGA) have taken steps to ban the use of live streaming apps for its events. While the NBA and NFL have policies in place which ban live streaming of the game, the players and of anything going on backstage.
Additionally, other organisations have come under criticism with how they have dealt with this issue. For example the PGA tour banned popular blogger Stephanie Wei from the rest of the tour for live streaming questions with Australian Golfer Matt Jones, as well as Masters Champion Jordan Speith. Wei used the stream to ask both golfers questions from fans, an example of the potential consumer engagement live streaming can provide. Wei`s credentials were revoked the same week.
This highlights the fear of this type of mobile streaming from many leading figures of the sports hierarchy. However, the real potential of live streaming apps is crystallizing. After The PGA tour revoked Wei’s credential, they began streaming from their own channel. Although some may find this hypocritical the Tour moved quickly to protect its own assets in an online world where fear of piracy is rife. Even the aforementioned Mayweather Pacquiao fight, had a live streamed element as Pacquiao streamed some of his final pre-fight preparations on Periscope while in his dressing room.
Mobile streaming may or may not be the next big step in how we consume sports and entertainment – arguably the real value is not the event itself but the potential to share the event from within someone else sitting room! However, with broadcast agreements such as those for NFL properties totaling annual payments of $4.95 billion, you can be sure they will fight to protect these revenues.
At Crowdsight we feel new platforms which allow greater fan interaction and allow sponsors to have a direct relationship with these fans should be embraced. The rewards from these platforms can allow these sponsors better feedback and analytical data. It can allow sponsors greater insight into what fans want to see and would be willing to pay for while strengthening brand recognition. As such Sponsorship is key for live streaming to grow legitimately, so that sponsored streams can be used in a variety of ways from highlights driven shows to providing backstage interviews and bonus material to dedicated fans.
Every year we increase the amount of data we create and share. We have become a society reliant on these apps and platforms in order to communicate with each other for both work and play. New platforms to facilitate this are constantly emerging, it is up to organisations such as the NBA, PGA and NFL to attempt to embrace these platforms so we as both creators and consumers can reap the rewards from this enhanced interaction.