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Why does it have to be SKY?

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9 hours ago, Eddie said:

I think I read the top Our League viewing figure last season was 6,000 for the Oldham v Newcastle play off final (was astounded at how low it was tbh but fairly sure I read that), in which case I doubt Netflix or Amazon would be falling over themselves based on that. 

Is it surprising? 6k people sought out the stream to watch a third tier RL game. How many went?

I think the difference between the potential market for L1 and super league (and what in effect would be the mostly likely outcome, and that is an all league package) is huge

900k watch England v NZ in Denver, morebthan a million some CC games, around 200k for an SL game

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9 hours ago, SL17 said:

The question is....Does the Lower tiers put up and tell them to do one.. SL is SKY.. It doesn't give exposure for lower leagues only a pay off to shut up. I want the game to strive, what do yo want?

The lower tiers really only have value as an add on to SL. Nobody is going to be paying significant sums to the lower leagues, they, dont attract enough people 

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Too many dreamers on here. 

If the game wants to get as much exposure as possible while receiving a good sum for the rights, it's Sky or BT. All the other options compromise on one or the other.

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25 minutes ago, scotchy1 said:

Is it surprising? 6k people sought out the stream to watch a third tier RL game. How many went?

I think the difference between the potential market for L1 and super league (and what in effect would be the mostly likely outcome, and that is an all league package) is huge

900k watch England v NZ in Denver, morebthan a million some CC games, around 200k for an SL game

Yes it is surprising to me, given there have been plenty of championship and league one games on Our League and they must have have all got less than 6,000 viewers. 

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14 minutes ago, Eddie said:

Yes it is surprising to me, given there have been plenty of championship and league one games on Our League and they must have have all got less than 6,000 viewers. 

How many L1 games had more than 6k attend?

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1 hour ago, scotchy1 said:

How many L1 games had more than 6k attend?

That’s like saying why does Bournemouth v Watford get more than 11,000 viewers on sky. Wouldn’t you expect a televised audience to be bigger than the attendance?

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RL is in a very similar position to Cricket imo. We need the Sky/BT TV money to keep the game afloat. However we have both also realised that having a majority of our presence behind a paywall has not helped us spread the game or grow interest significantly at all - arguably visibility of our premier competition has shrunk. The solution surely is a balance between FTA and Subscription services. Indeed for someone like sky, having 1 game a week say on FTA could actually be a net benefit as they stand to benefit from any new subscribers.

Ultimately monopolies are never good and a bit of competition may improve broadcast quality etc.

One way this sort of model could be made to work is by bringing production of matches in house and then selling the feeds to broadcasters. Currently we have 6 games a weekend. Thursday Night Rugby, Friday Night Rugby, 2 Super Saturday games kicking off at 3 and 5 (potentially a 3rd with a Toronto Home game in the later evening) and a Sunday Night rugby kicking off at 5 on the Beeb sounds like a fair aim to me and is obviously bolstered by our other assets ie Internationals, Championship, L1 and the Challenge Cup.

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36 minutes ago, Eddie said:

That’s like saying why does Bournemouth v Watford get more than 11,000 viewers on sky. Wouldn’t you expect a televised audience to be bigger than the attendance?

We did, largely. 

6k sought out a stream for 3rd tier RL, a league where attendances are in the hundreds, low hundreds often. 

How much reach do we think our league will have when its largely only broadcasting matches attended by a few hundred?

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13 minutes ago, scotchy1 said:

We did, largely. 

6k sought out a stream for 3rd tier RL, a league where attendances are in the hundreds, low hundreds often. 

How much reach do we think our league will have when its largely only broadcasting matches attended by a few hundred?

I thought more than a couple of thousand (bearing in mind the record is 6,000 so the average game will be lots less). However my surprise isn’t really the issue, my point was that numbers like that aren’t going to impress any potential broadcaster. 

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19 minutes ago, yipyee said:

There's no reason they Can't?

Because it doesn't fit in with what they do. They sell films, dramas, comedy, not live sport.

It's like wondering why you can't get a Big Mac at KFC. It's not what they do.

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12 hours ago, scotchy1 said:

We did, largely. 

6k sought out a stream for 3rd tier RL, a league where attendances are in the hundreds, low hundreds often. 

How much reach do we think our league will have when its largely only broadcasting matches attended by a few hundred?

How many SL games where less than 6k?

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On 12/11/2019 at 21:26, scotchy1 said:

The question the game needs to ask is whether the cost of sky is higher or lower than its 'elasticity of demand'

How many who would pay wont pay for sky but would pay a separate sub. That gives you a basic value. That's what we can get separately from sky. 

Toronto managed it with Premier Sports.

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Talk of going so heavily into streaming is all a bit fanciful at the moment. 

Netflix's business model isn't about live sports broadcasting - it is looking to buy evergreen blockbuster content that can be binge-watched again and again and again. Sports documentaries, yes. Live sport broadcasting, no. Even Amazon doesn't do it's own production - it takes the global feeds from US Open Tennis and it takes the FOX/NFLN feed from Thursday Night Football. 

Secondly, TV will always be the dominant platform. I work in digital so I don't have to go far before some two-hat will proclaim "TV is dead" and "streaming is the future" at me, and they're talking out of their backside. For the vast majority of people, the box in the corner of the living room is still the primary form of entertainment - we need to be on it and at the moment, Sky is the best option of balancing finances and reach. 

Thirdly, I really think we're reaching saturation point when it comes to SVOD platforms. Every man and his dog is seemingly launching some sort of streaming service - Amazon, Netflix, Sky Boxsets, Apple TV, NowTV, HBO Max, NBCUniversal, Britbox, DAZN, HeyU, Disney Life, Eleven Sport, YouTube.... There are only so many that the market can sustain, some will inevitably fail (Eleven Sport already has) and if RL backs the wrong horse, you're looking at the same sort of fall out that we saw with ITV Digital or Kircsh Media in Germany.

So to answer the original question of "does it have to be Sky?" Yes, it probably does. But the agreements need to modernise to allow SLE to do more digitally to increase its reach beyond the walled garden of Sky The work by the RFL on OurLeague has been encouraging - the long-term ambition should be to develop that incrementally into our version of NFL Gamepass or NBA League Pass.

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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1 hour ago, whatmichaelsays said:

Talk of going so heavily into streaming is all a bit fanciful at the moment. 

Netflix's business model isn't about live sports broadcasting - it is looking to buy evergreen blockbuster content that can be binge-watched again and again and again. Sports documentaries, yes. Live sport broadcasting, no. Even Amazon doesn't do it's own production - it takes the global feeds from US Open Tennis and it takes the FOX/NFLN feed from Thursday Night Football. 

Secondly, TV will always be the dominant platform. I work in digital so I don't have to go far before some two-hat will proclaim "TV is dead" and "streaming is the future" at me, and they're talking out of their backside. For the vast majority of people, the box in the corner of the living room is still the primary form of entertainment - we need to be on it and at the moment, Sky is the best option of balancing finances and reach. 

Thirdly, I really think we're reaching saturation point when it comes to SVOD platforms. Every man and his dog is seemingly launching some sort of streaming service - Amazon, Netflix, Sky Boxsets, NowTV, Britbox, DAZN, HeyU, Disney Life, Eleven Sport, YouTube.... There are only so many that the market can sustain, some will inevitably fail (Eleven Sport already has) and if RL backs the wrong horse, you're looking at the same sort of fall out that we saw with ITV Digital or Kircsh Media in Germany.

So to answer the original question of "does it have to be Sky?" Yes, it probably does. But the agreements need to modernise to allow SLE to do more digitally to increase its reach beyond the walled garden of Super League. The work by the RFL on OurLeague has been encouraging - the long-term ambition should be to develop that incrementally into our version of NFL Gamepass or NBA League Pass.

I agree with some of what you say but I'm just picking up on this bit. 

I'm not sure those two things are incompatible. 

The streaming/box in the corner thing is one and the same. Through a sky box you can stream youtube, iplayer, netflix, sky box sets and a whole host of online channels, you can do similar with amazon fire, smart TVs etc are all streaming to the box in the corner, people will stream through xbox, playstation, mirroring from laptops apple tv.

Its not a matter of replacing the box in the corner but adding to it. 

An app is now basically a channel with added functionality.

If I were SL I would buy the rights to NRL watch for europe and NA, buy the rights to the championship and L1 and go in on a joint venture with sky where they pay C£50m a year for 2 game of SL per week on action and main event, plus a 50% share of a subscription Rugby League channel on their EPG that also served as an app/channel that could be sold wholesale to other providers and direct to consumers.

That also gives us a ready made product to sell to the rest of the northern hemisphere monetizing the value in France and canada

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15 minutes ago, scotchy1 said:

I agree with some of what you say but I'm just picking up on this bit. 

I'm not sure those two things are incompatible. 

The streaming/box in the corner thing is one and the same. Through a sky box you can stream youtube, iplayer, netflix, sky box sets and a whole host of online channels, you can do similar with amazon fire, smart TVs etc are all streaming to the box in the corner, people will stream through xbox, playstation, mirroring from laptops apple tv.

Its not a matter of replacing the box in the corner but adding to it. 

An app is now basically a channel with added functionality.

If I were SL I would buy the rights to NRL watch for europe and NA, buy the rights to the championship and L1 and go in on a joint venture with sky where they pay C£50m a year for 2 game of SL per week on action and main event, plus a 50% share of a subscription Rugby League channel on their EPG that also served as an app/channel that could be sold wholesale to other providers and direct to consumers.

That also gives us a ready made product to sell to the rest of the northern hemisphere monetizing the value in France and canada

OK, I'll clarify that a bit....

There's a lot of talk about "cord cutting" and the "death of live TV" which I believe is highly misplaced and over-egged. 

These were last year's stats on TV consumption habits....

 

Yes, streaming is growing, but it is still small fry in comparison to live TV. 

Yes, the 'box in the corner' can do a lot more than it used to, but that doesn't mean viewers are actually using that functionality. You can add as many ethernet and USB ports to a TV as you want, and add wireless connectivity to as many devices as you want, but what ultimately matters is whether people are prepared to sign-up and (in most cases) pay for your content - and that's where my point about market saturation comes in. I already pay for Sky, BT Sport, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Spotify and the TV Licence fee - do I want, need or have time for ANOTHER subscription service in my life?

And that's the rub that RL needs to be careful about. NFL Gamepass only reaches about 6% of broadband-connected homes in the US (the stats are similar for the eqivalent offerings from WWE, MLB and NBA). RL has neither the reach or capabilities of those entities, so we have to conclude that an RL-streaming service is going to be a long, long way from being a meaningful alternative to selling to Sky. 

Streaming and digital has a role to play, but that's where I think we need to have a more modern approach to the TV rights. At the moment, they're too restrictive and prevent the clubs / SLE from really using channels like YouTube to their fullest. We need to change that in the next round of negotiating, rather than spend time gambling on the next shiny new toy. 

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4 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

OK, I'll clarify that a bit....

There's a lot of talk about "cord cutting" and the "death of live TV" which I believe is highly misplaced and over-egged. 

These were last year's stats on TV consumption habits....

 

Yes, streaming is growing, but it is still small fry in comparison to live TV. 

Yes, the 'box in the corner' can do a lot more than it used to, but that doesn't mean viewers are actually using that functionality. You can add as many ethernet and USB ports to a TV as you want, and add wireless connectivity to as many devices as you want, but what ultimately matters is whether people are prepared to sign-up and (in most cases) pay for your content - and that's where my point about market saturation comes in. I already pay for Sky, BT Sport, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Spotify and the TV Licence fee - do I want, need or have time for ANOTHER subscription service in my life?

And that's the rub that RL needs to be careful about. NFL Gamepass only reaches about 6% of broadband-connected homes in the US (the stats are similar for the eqivalent offerings from WWE, MLB and NBA). RL has neither the reach or capabilities of those entities, so we have to conclude that an RL-streaming service is going to be a long, long way from being a meaningful alternative to selling to Sky. 

Streaming and digital has a role to play, but that's where I think we need to have a more modern approach to the TV rights. At the moment, they're too restrictive and prevent the clubs / SLE from really using channels like YouTube to their fullest. We need to change that in the next round of negotiating, rather than spend time gambling on the next shiny new toy. 

I bet if you looked at those figure for under 30s there would a significant shift.

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22 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

I bet if you looked at those figure for under 30s there would a significant shift.

Ofcom stats survey 16-34 year olds for their "young people" and yes, they do lean more to 'on demand' content vs broadcast TV (42% broadcast vs 69% as a UK average). That said, live TV is still the biggest source of entertainment and it's also worth noting that they watch less TV/video overall. 

The biggest single 'channel' for that group however is YouTube, averaging at 1h 04m per day and that is where my point about having a TV deal that allows SL & clubs to really use YouTube is really important - much more important about wondering whether to jump into bed with Netflix, Amazon or any other SVOD provider. 

 

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25 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

OK, I'll clarify that a bit....

There's a lot of talk about "cord cutting" and the "death of live TV" which I believe is highly misplaced and over-egged. 

These were last year's stats on TV consumption habits....

 

Yes, streaming is growing, but it is still small fry in comparison to live TV. 

Yes, the 'box in the corner' can do a lot more than it used to, but that doesn't mean viewers are actually using that functionality. You can add as many ethernet and USB ports to a TV as you want, and add wireless connectivity to as many devices as you want, but what ultimately matters is whether people are prepared to sign-up and (in most cases) pay for your content - and that's where my point about market saturation comes in. I already pay for Sky, BT Sport, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Spotify and the TV Licence fee - do I want, need or have time for ANOTHER subscription service in my life?

And that's the rub that RL needs to be careful about. NFL Gamepass only reaches about 6% of broadband-connected homes in the US (the stats are similar for the eqivalent offerings from WWE, MLB and NBA). RL has neither the reach or capabilities of those entities, so we have to conclude that an RL-streaming service is going to be a long, long way from being a meaningful alternative to selling to Sky. 

Streaming and digital has a role to play, but that's where I think we need to have a more modern approach to the TV rights. At the moment, they're too restrictive and prevent the clubs / SLE from really using channels like YouTube to their fullest. We need to change that in the next round of negotiating, rather than spend time gambling on the next shiny new toy. 

I think youre drawing a bit of a distinction that doeant really exist. Or perhaps we are using slightly different definitions.

You can get a sky subscription now without a dish that is simply streaming sky. Not really nowtv style payg or streaming through a laptop etc but a sky sub that comes down a wire instead of through a dish. 

Streaming is just a delivery method. If I use my sky box to watch netflix am I streaming or watching traditional tv. My experience is pretty much exactly the same. If I watch the football tonight through ITV player on a fire stick rather than through an aerial am I streaming or watching traditional TV?

Do you pay for sky sports, would you pay for another subscription? Maybe not, but that's why sky sells bt sport and netflix and spotify. What they want to create is a position whereby you buy a package off sky exactly the same as you did before. But instead of buying a movie package you buy a Netflix package. Instead of a sports package you can buy a football package. 

The added value sky offer is no longer their delivery system which 30 years ago was really the only option as all we had was terrestrial then we got digital, then it was content because they were the only player in the market who could spend millions and billions, then netflix, amazon etc joined, now It's that they can bundle. 

You are right people dont want to pay separate subscriptions, accounts,  log ons apps for every little thing. That's why through sky I can get phone, broadband, mobile, spotify, netflix, movies, entertainment, sports, youtube etc etc etc

That's what amazon want to do, virgin want to do, bt want to do. 

An RL channel/app would just be something you add on in the same way you add an entertainment package, movie package etc.

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22 minutes ago, scotchy1 said:

I think youre drawing a bit of a distinction that doeant really exist. Or perhaps we are using slightly different definitions.

You can get a sky subscription now without a dish that is simply streaming sky. Not really nowtv style payg or streaming through a laptop etc but a sky sub that comes down a wire instead of through a dish. 

Streaming is just a delivery method. If I use my sky box to watch netflix am I streaming or watching traditional tv. My experience is pretty much exactly the same. If I watch the football tonight through ITV player on a fire stick rather than through an aerial am I streaming or watching traditional TV?

Do you pay for sky sports, would you pay for another subscription? Maybe not, but that's why sky sells bt sport and netflix and spotify. What they want to create is a position whereby you buy a package off sky exactly the same as you did before. But instead of buying a movie package you buy a Netflix package. Instead of a sports package you can buy a football package. 

The added value sky offer is no longer their delivery system which 30 years ago was really the only option as all we had was terrestrial then we got digital, then it was content because they were the only player in the market who could spend millions and billions, then netflix, amazon etc joined, now It's that they can bundle. 

You are right people dont want to pay separate subscriptions, accounts,  log ons apps for every little thing. That's why through sky I can get phone, broadband, mobile, spotify, netflix, movies, entertainment, sports, youtube etc etc etc

That's what amazon want to do, virgin want to do, bt want to do. 

An RL channel/app would just be something you add on in the same way you add an entertainment package, movie package etc.

I understand what you're saying - I'd just question the viability of it. 

Bundling in an RL channel or app for "just an extra" £x per month doesn't really change the situation much. 

You can add MUTV to your Sky bundle if you want to, but only 175,000 subscribe to MUTV either through TV or online. That's a channel dedicated to one of the biggest sporting brands in the world - it's probably a decent starting benchmark for the viability of a stand-alone RL channel. In the US, the NFL Network and MLB Network are all losing subscribers hand over fist. 

And I think most importantly, it is something that is only going to appeal to the converted - that's the current problem with OurLeague. There is nothing stopping the RFL creating SamsungTV, LGTV or Kindle apps for OurLeague, but they haven't done that and I suspect that's partly because it isn't viable to.  

A casual is not going to ask Sky to add another channel to their subscription unless they are invested in it. They will, however, watch it on a platform that they are already bought into. 

The balance the game needs to strike is a difficult one. The new TV deal needs to give the game the financial injection the game needs whilst at the same time, giving us the reach it's looking for. We need to balance what we charge for, and what we give away for free and to my mind, a Sky TV deal with more up-to-date clauses around digital video is the best approach. 

 

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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1 hour ago, whatmichaelsays said:

NFL Gamepass only reaches about 6% of broadband-connected homes in the US (the stats are similar for the eqivalent offerings from WWE, MLB and NBA). RL has neither the reach or capabilities of those entities, so we have to conclude that an RL-streaming service is going to be a long, long way from being a meaningful alternative to selling to Sky. 

What incentive do NFL fans have to buy Gamepass? They get all their local team's games for free on TV. I've always viewed Gamepass as more of a service for international fans. 

I don't see how this is relevant to broadcasting in the UK.

33 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

You can add MUTV to your Sky bundle if you want to, but only 175,000 subscribe to MUTV either through TV or online. That's a channel dedicated to one of the biggest sporting brands in the world - it's probably a decent starting benchmark for the viability of a stand-alone RL channel. In the US, the NFL Network and MLB Network are all losing subscribers hand over fist. 

Again, what incentive is there for United fans to buy MUTV? Most people want to watch the games live and that's it. That's why they pay money for Sky Sports or BT. MUTV doesn't show live games. All it has is talking heads that you can find anywhere else. You can even go to their YouTube channel and just watch videos there if you're that interested. I don't see how fluff pieces and studio talk is a benchmark for anything, let alone the viability of a standalone RL channel is the only place to see live games. 

Any form of distribution can work. You just need to have a product that loads of people are willing to pay for. 

How many people would pay for a subscription service just for Super League? Who knows. What it would result in is fewer potential eyeballs as all of a sudden the casuals on Sky that might've watched a game now definitely won't. 

RL shouldn't abandon Sky in favour of streaming alternatives. For now, the negatives outweigh any positives. 

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