How Regional Sports Networks Can Own the Direct-to-Consumer Experience

To leverage broadcasting rights for professional sports to their fullest potential, Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) and their parent broadcast groups are choosing to go the direct-to-consumer route. Through the use of mobile applications and web-based services, RSNs are able to cut through an increasingly frustrating and costly subscription landscape for die-hard sports fans, and capture that revenue directly. Additionally, these new digital channels – such as iOS and Android applications – present landmark opportunities for sports broadcasters to deliver a streaming experience that is more enticing to both viewers and advertisers – through viewer interactivity.

Why Are RSNs Going Direct-to-Consumer?

The goal of the direct-to-consumer pivot is to reduce the cost and complexity of viewer-access to RSN content. Traditionally, RSN programming gets bundled into expensive, all-encompassing TV subscriptions that present a lose-lose for all viewers. Sports fans are paying for a bundle of content they don’t care about, and average viewers are subsidizing a channel they’ll never watch. Frustrations like this have lead millions of viewers to cut the cord and take their business to popular over-the-top streaming platforms, the local bar that’s got the game, or outright illegal pirate streams. 

To compound the problem, RSNs tend to have difficulty finding ideal streaming partners for their content, resulting in channel drops due to price negotiations falling through, or exorbitantly high subscription costs for viewers. However, by going straight to the consumer with a mobile or web-based subscription, RSNs can offer sports fans a better deal for the content they crave.

Viewer Interactivity Makes Your Streaming Service a Must-Have

Beyond the economics and distribution benefits, the digital nature of iOS, Android, and web-based applications open up new opportunities to deliver a viewing experience that’s a cut above what sports fans have come to expect from their television. Take Chyron’s PRIME Edge, for instance, a cloud-based service that can manage and deploy broadcast-grade interactive graphics to streams on your mobile apps or web platform. Powered by PRIME CG graphics, Edge puts sports fans in the driver’s seat with graphic overlay elements that respond to touch gestures and mouse clicks. Not only is this a great way to engage viewers, but this is the kind of prime real estate that advertisers are eager to purchase.

Click here to test out an example PRIME Edge interactive graphic you can use in your regional sports network streams

We’ll touch on this later, but PRIME Edge can simplify implementing interactivity into your streaming apps and services versus building it out through in-house app development.

[READ: Drive Viewer Interactivity in Your OTT and Web Channels]

Empower Sports Fans to Tailor Their Live Stream Experience

Broadcasters are passionate about sports fans because they are the most engaged viewing audience you’ll ever find. The score, team + individual player stats, and increasingly sports betting odds as broadcasters partner up with sportsbooks – fans live in the data when they’re watching a game. What better way is there to improve RSN content than allowing viewers to select the data-driven graphics they want to keep an eye on during the stream?

With an interactive graphic driven by PRIME Edge, viewers can bring up the stats of their favorite players they want to keep track of during a stream. You can even sync a graphic with live player tracking data to compare athletic performance between players during a match.

[READ: How to Leverage Data in Your Sports Betting Broadcasts]

Maximize the Advertising Revenue of Your Regional Sports Network

Viewer interactivity isn’t just a boon to viewers. Platforms like PRIME Edge can unlock all-new revenue streams across your direct-to-consumer channels. RSN audiences are eager to purchase team merchandise, make sports bets, and buy products from relevant sponsors. With interactive graphic overlays on your stream, you can present these ads in a non-intrusive, relevant, and organic way to viewers. Embed a link to the team store page for each player’s jersey on their stat graphic, and give sponsors direct conversion to e-commerce pages from your in-stream graphics – the opportunities are endless. 

Viewer interaction on mobile apps and web-based streaming services offers a level of trackable ad performance that previously eluded over-the-air broadcast. You’ll be able to provide your sponsor’s marketing departments with viewer-to-purchase metrics like never before – commanding higher value and demand for your ad space.

[READ: Three Ways to Increase Your Channel’s Advertising Value]

Avoid Costly In-House App Development Efforts

Choosing tools like PRIME Edge to power interactive graphics can save you money and time in bringing interactive graphics into your direct-to-consumer streams. Not all broadcasters have mobile app development teams in-house. Even if you do, developing an interactive feature like this takes time, maintenance, bug fixes, and pushing the new feature out through end-user updates – it can be a bit of a nightmare. With PRIME Edge, you can leverage your existing art department resources. Edge graphics are built in the same PRIME Designer interface that powers PRIME CG. It’s easy to create interactive content from scratch or quickly repurpose on-air graphics for touch control.

A sizzle reel showing interactive graphics for OTT, live streaming, websites, and mobile apps in action.

Watch the PRIME Edge Sizzle Reel to see get an idea of the interactive content you can use in your direct-to-consumer streaming services

When it’s time to overlay the graphic on your stream, a simple widget URL easily embeds into the video player within your iOS, Android, or web-based streaming application. From the active URL, the art department can push through graphic updates and formatting changes that need to happen between games – no further dev team effort required.

Own the Direct-to-Consumer Experience for Your Regional Sports Market

The pivot to direct-to-consumer distribution promises to create a better ecosystem for regional sports networks, parent broadcast groups, sports fans, and advertisers alike. By taking your streaming services to the next level with interactive graphics, you can empower sports fans to get the stories they want to see. Plus, interactive ad space entices sponsors to partner with you for unbeatable access to their target audiences. By leveraging tools like PRIME Edge, sports broadcasters can bring this cutting-edge viewing experience to the table with the graphic design tools they know and love, rather than bringing costly in-house app development to bear.

Discover how you can power interactive graphics in your mobile apps and web-based streaming services on the PRIME Edge page.

Dan
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