NBA, TikTok Partner for Video Contest in India

India, with the world’s sixth-largest economy and youngest global population by 2020, is a coveted streaming video market for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney and now the NBA.

The National Basketball Association has partnered with user-generated short-form mobile video sharing platform TikTok for a campaign around the ongoing 2019 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors.

The social media venture – dubbed #DuetWithNBA – enables TikTok users to create and share video duets with content offered on the NBA India app.

The top-three winners who post and share content on the platform will be featured on a post-game presentation of the NBA Finals. Other participants will selected to receive NBA Fanwear.

The campaign follows last December’s partnership between the NBA and ByteDance, TikTok’s corporate parent.

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“We are always looking at partnerships that allow our fans to engage with the league across various content platforms,” Diane Gotua, VP, global business operations at the NBA, said in a statement.

Mayank Gandotra, director of business development at TikTok India, said the platform is ideal for users seeking to watch and interest with sports video.

“We are excited to bring to our active sports community pan-India exclusive content and engaging in-app challenges,” Gandotra said.

The TikTok app is available in more than 150 markets and 75 languages globally.

 

Yahoo Sports Bowing NBA-Themed Studio Streaming Show

The National Basketball Association, Turner Sports and Yahoo Sports are set to debut a live nightly studio show, “The Bounce,” available on Yahoo Sports and the Yahoo Sports app on iOS and Android beginning Jan. 21, with a special 5-8 p.m. ET launch.

The show will air five nights per week — Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday — from 8-11 p.m. ET through the end of the 2018-19 NBA regular season.

This mobile-specific show is part of a multiyear deal and claims to be the first of its kind, offering the league through analysis from a roster of hosts along with in-progress highlights, a live scoreboard, social media integrations, and behind-the-scenes footage.

“The Bounce” will be co-produced by Turner Sports and Yahoo Sports from the Turner Studios in Atlanta, featuring rotating analysts Gary Payton, Swin Cash and Jason Terry, as well as Turner commentators Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, Allie LaForce and Stephanie Ready as studio hosts.

Geoff Reiss, GM of Yahoo Sports, said the show expands upon Verizon’s partnership with the NBA.

“The Bounce … will give fans a new way to stay up-to-date on what’s happening with the NBA, while providing them with access to NBA League Pass [SVOD service] all in one place.”

NBA League Pass has been available on Yahoo since last season. Yahoo Sports is also the official fantasy game for NBA.com.

“The Bounce builds on Yahoo Sports’ comprehensive NBA programming that already includes editorial coverage, traditional highlights and the league’s official Fantasy Game,” said David Denenberg, SVP of global media distribution and business affairs, NBA.

In addition to the premiere of series, the NBA’s MLK Jr. Day programming will feature a slate of five nationally televised games across TNT and NBA TV.

“We’re looking forward to producing this innovative form of content for NBA fans as a supplement to the in-depth coverage available on NBA TV and across the NBA Digital portfolio,” said Scooter Vertino, SVP of production, programming and content, NBA Digital.

 

 

Twitter to Live-Stream 20 NBA Games From Player POV

The National Basketball Association, Turner Sports and Twitter Jan. 9 announced a live-streaming deal that affords hardwood aficionados in the United States access to 20 “NBA on TNT” games this season.

In a first, during the second halves of those games, users will be able to watch the action through a single-player, isolated camera view. Underscoring the interactive element of the deal, users vote on Twitter for the player they want to see featured during the live stream of select regular-season and playoff games airing on TNT as well as the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.

“The NBA Twitter community is among the most vibrant in sports and entertainment,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “While watching NBA games on TNT, our fans on Twitter can now enjoy a unique second screen experience that will further enhance the way fans engage with each other and the game.”

The live-streams will debut during TNT’s presentation of the 2019 NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 17, with an ISO-CAM of a fan-voted player. The schedule of regular-season and playoff live streams will be announced at a later date, along with exclusive commentators who will provide analysis for this second screen offering.

“This complementary live stream on Twitter — from the distinct vantage point of the fan-voted, most coveted player on a given night – will provide an additive experience for fans to go along with the fully-produced coverage on TNT,” said Turner president David Levy.

As part of the expanded relationship, the NBA — through its NBA Digital partnership with Turner — will continue to provide on-demand content from the @NBA Twitter handle, including video of pre-game warmups, in-game and post-game highlights, and behind-the-scenes content.

Since the NBA joined Twitter in 2009, the league has built the largest Twitter community of any sports league in the world with 27.5 million followers.

CES 2019: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to Discuss Expanded Partnership

For better or worse, Twitter engages people through social media.

Take the Christmas Day NBA matchup between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers, which was infamously hyped on Twitter after the Warriors featured an illustration of forward Draymond Green attempting to spread holiday cheer.

Twitter followers thought the image made Green look fat. And the snarking followed.

“Did KD draw this?” tweeted one follower in reference to the Warriors’ forward Kevin Durant.

While public putdowns on Twitter are nothing new, the NBA and Twitter hope the platform can enhance the consumer experience – in addition to their bottom lines.

The Consumer Technology Association Dec. 27 announced that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver are scheduled to have a conversation with ESPN anchor Rachel Nichols at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show Jan. 8-11, 2019in Las Vegas.

The session, “#NBATwitter: A Conversation with Adam Silver and Jack Dorsey,” will discuss the NBA’s approach to sports technology with a spotlight on #NBATwitter.

Moderated by Nichols, Dorsey and Silver will speak from the CES Sports Zone Stage at 1:30 PM, on Jan. 9 at ARIA, Level 3, Primrose Ballroom 2-3.

“The partnership between Twitter and the NBA illustrates the ever-growing symbiotic relationship between sports and technology,” Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA, said in a statement.

CES 2018 saw every sports league represented, including Major League Soccer, MLB, NASCAR, NBA, NCAA, NFL, NHL, U.S. Olympic Committee and WWE. Professional athletes, such as Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Joe Montana, Landon Donovan, Bryce Harper and Michael Phelps made appearances and contributed to the narrative surrounding sports technology innovation.

CES 2019 will be no different.

Returning to the annual confab for 2019, the CES Sports Zone will feature the latest tech innovation impacting all facets of sports – from athletic performance to fan engagement and the business of sports on and off the field.

In addition to exhibits, the Sports Zone conference program will feature athletes and industry experts as they explore the future of sports technology, including the quantified athlete, immersive fan experience, smart venues and eSports. Another aspect is the CES Sports Zone Lounge hosted by Sports Innovation Lab and sponsored by the NFL Players Association.

CES attendees will be able to experience eSports firsthand via The Gamespot eSports truck located in the CES Sports Zone of Tech West (#45822). Featuring 10 gaming kiosks for both professional gamers and attendees to showcase their skills in Mario Kart and the newly released Super Smash Brothers, the truck will host a series of competitions and invite all to take part in periods of open play.

Some 4,500 exhibitors will unveil technology across every major industry at CES 2019, across a show floor spanning 2.75 million net square feet.

Warriors’ Stephen Curry’s soft shot in losing effort against the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Day.

Sky Bowing OTT Video Service Featuring NBA, NFL Games — Including Super Bowl LIII

Comcast-owned Sky in January is launching an over-the-top video service in the United Kingdom showcasing 40 games from the NBA and NFL – including Super Bowl LIII, Feb. 3, 2019 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Dubbed Sky Sports USA, the service will be offered from Jan. 3 through Feb. 5 as part of Sky’s £18 monthly Sky Sports subscription, or from £7.99 daily via the broadband-specific Now TV Sports pass.

Sky Sports USA will feature every NFL game through the playoffs. On the hardwood, U.K. subs can stream NBA’s annual London game, featuring the Washington Wizards against the New York Knicks on Jan. 17. On Jan. 21, the league marks Martin Luther King Jr. Day with three games, headlined by the Memphis Grizzlies.

“Every year, the NFL and NBA London games sell out in a matter of minutes and every year the following for both sports in the U.K. gets bigger,” Barney Francis, managing director, Sky Sports, said in a statement.

“It’s a perfect time to launch a pop-up channel to make sure our customers get the very best of American sports.”

 

 

Verizon Looking to Bundle Third-Party OTT Video with 5G Rollout

Still smarting from its $1 billion write-down of the short-lived Go90 video app, including forays into original content production (“The Runner” reality TV series), Verizon is embracing high-band 5G spectrum, which claims to offer wireless network speeds 100 times faster than the current 4G spectrum.

But rather than create and market an online TV platform featuring third-party content pay-TV channels, Verizon will help market third-party over-the-top video services – similar to what Amazon Channels does.

Last month, Verizon launched 5G network coverage in Los Angeles, Houston, Indianapolis and Sacramento, Calif. Rollout included the choice of a free Apple TV with 4K functionality or Google Chromecast device, and 90-days access to online TV platform YouTube TV.

“You should expect to see us continue to look for ways to be disruptive to the distribution model,” CFO Matthew Ellis told attendees Nov. 14 at the Morgan Stanley European Technology, Media & Telecom confab in Barcelona.

In terms of overall content, Ellis said Verizon would focus internally on the newly restructured Verizon Media Group subsidiary (formerly Oath), which features three units targeting consumers, business and media, respectively.

The latter, headed by current Oath CEO Guru Gowrappan (who replaced departing Tim Armstrong),is fixated on news, sports, entertainment and finance via Verizon subsidiaries such as Yahoo!, AOL, HuffPost, TechCrunch, Engadget, and Tumblr.

Verizon earlier this year partnered with the NBA for video content streamed, including live games, original programming, fantasy leagues and interactive experiences on Yahoo! Sports and other platforms.

The deal mirrored an earlier agreement with the NFL to stream in-market and national games, including national pre-season, regular season, playoff games, and the Super Bowl nationwide – regardless of mobile network.

“You’ll see us continue to do some things in content, but it’s going to be focused on those super channels within the [Verizon Media Group] platform as opposed to the kind of more traditional video [movies, TV shows] content,” said Ellis.

 

NBA Finals Streaming Up 21% From 2017

The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers may be meeting in the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive year, but streaming video interest in the matchup is stronger than ever.

New data from video measurement firm Conviva found a 30.3% increase Game 2 (June 3) streaming in the Bay Area and 119% increase in Cleveland compared with Game 2 in 2017.

Golden State won the contest 122-103 in Oakland, Calif., to take a two-game lead in the best-of-seven series that continues June 6 in Cleveland. The Warriors hold the identical won/loss advantage over the Cavaliers going into Game 3 as they did last year.

Overall, Game 2 only saw a 2.14% increase in video streams compared to Game 2 2017. Combining Game 1 and Game 2 2018, streaming saw a 21.42% increase over the first two games in 2017.

Peak concurrent streaming — the number of concurrent streams at the exact same moment — was up 36.2% for Game 2 this year compared with Game 2 in 2017.

Notably, Game 2 was viewed on 12.43% fewer unique devices than Game 2 of 2017.

The 2018 NBA Finals are available to stream on Sling TV, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now, in addition to the Watch ESPN app.

Pro Sports Using OTT Video to Target Younger Viewers

Formula 1 auto racing is a global brand generating more than $3 billion in revenue. It attracts an audience of 500 million people – largely older than Madison Avenue’s coveted 18-34-year-old demo. In the U.S., the rival to IndyCar remains a niche TV sport.

A survey by Ampere Analysis found just 6% of U.S. sports fans identify F1 as a sport they would watch on TV. Indeed, domestic viewers will rely on a repurposed feed from U.K. satellite TV operator Sky to watch any coverage of the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season.

F1 TV, the sport’s newly-launched over-the-top video service, is seeking to buck its older demo fan base by targeting younger viewers (under the age of 40) usually associated with streaming video.

London-based Ampere contends the $8-$12 monthly service – available in four languages (English, French, German and Spanish) and in nearly two dozen markets, including the U.S., will appeal to younger viewers because of the OTT element.

“As more sports become available OTT, it gives less popular leagues an opportunity to monetize markets where they are not mainstream enough to be attractive to a major broadcaster,” analyst Alexios Dimitropoulos wrote in a blog.

Even mainstream sports are taking the hint.

In the U.S., Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer and World Wrestling Entertainment have launched OTT platforms — MLB with spectacular results.

The national pastime spearheaded the OTT movement among U.S. professional sports through its MLB Advanced Media division. The unit – which is co-owned by all 30 MLB franchises – recently sold backend digital tech subsidiary, BAMTech, to Disney in a deal worth more than $3.5 billion.

“Sports fans face a myriad of distractions and while commercial opportunities are still developing, it’s critical for rights owners to build their presence on social platforms to help maintain loyal audiences, support tune-in and provide a content experience which meets the needs of viewers who watch much less linear TV,” Gareth Capon, CEO at digital media aggregator Grabyo, told consulting firm KNect365.com.

Indeed, WWE, which makes millions marketing pay-per-view wrestling entertainment, generates significant ancillary revenue from WWE.tv, an OTT platform with almost 1.5 million subscribers.

“We expect more leagues and events to follow the same route … over the next few years,” said Dimitropoulos.

Verizon Eyes 5G Future as Fios TV Ups Sub Losses

Verizon Jan. 23 announced it plans to roll out 5G wireless functionality in upwards of five major cities in the second half of this year – the first wireless carrier to do so.

The technology should dramatically increase streaming video speeds, with 5G download speeds up to 10 gigabits-per-second compared to one gigabit-per-second for 4G LTE. The higher speed could result in downloading a HD movie in seconds.

Verizon aims to harness 5G technology with its new Oath platform, whose content brands include Yahoo, HuffPost, AOL, Tech Crunch and Engadget, among others.

The telecom, which recently inked license deals with the NBA and NFL, added 47,000 Fios high-speed Internet customers to end the fourth quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2017) with 5.9 million subs.

“The next industrial revolution will be on Verizon’s [5G] network and will positively impact society like no technology we have seen before,” CEO Lowell McAdam boasted on the fiscal call.

Meanwhile, Verizon’s pay-TV platform, Fios video, lost 29,000 subs in the quarter, to end the year down 75,000 subs at 4.6 million.

When asked whether Verizon would follow in the footsteps of AT&T and Walt Disney seeking to acquire a media company, McAdam punted. The executive admitted Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox underscores the value of scale in the market place.

McAdam said the jury is out regarding the merits of Verizon acting as an independent distributor of content compared to owning and creating content.

“I think until all of this media consolidation [AT&T/Time Warner, Disney/Fox] shakes out, you really can’t determine whether that’s a path we would be interested in,” he said. “But I can say unequivocally there is nothing going on right now without considering a large media play [involved].”

“In fact, if you look at our actions like the NBA and the NFL announcement … we think being able to monetize through advertising and being independent is a very good place to play for us right now.”

Wall Street remains on the fence regarding Verizon’s first-mover 5G strategy.

“5G is going to be a hundred times faster than your typical Internet service, so not only is it going to be faster, it’s going to have better margins and give Verizon a ton of opportunity for new customer growth,” Michelle McKinnon, analyst with Payne Capital Management, told CNBC.

Jonathan Chaplin, analyst with New Street Research, said that while 5G enables Verizon to bridge technology divides in the market, doing so comes at a major fiscal cost.

“We’ve pegged it at least at $35 billion dollars,” Chaplin said. “That’s going to [more than] absorb the gains [Verizon is] going to get in tax reform savings over the next four or five years — which I don’t think the market is anticipating.”

 

 

 

 

Verizon CEO: ‘We’re Going to Completely Change the Way People View Sports’

Verizon and the National Basketball Association Jan. 17 announced an expansion on their three-year partnership that includes subscription streaming video and access on Yahoo.

Beginning with the NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles (Feb. 16-18), the NBA and Verizon will unveil a series of collaborations leveraging Verizon’s 5G network and technology.

Verizon subs will direct Access to NBA League Pass, the live over-the-top video service co-managed by the NBA and Turner Sports – on Yahoo Sports and other Verizon media platforms.

The telecom and NBA will promote daily highlight video show, commentary, in addition to augmented reality, lifestyle programming utilizing the league’s archive of footage across Yahoo Sports and Verizon’s media platforms.

“With the addition of live NBA games … and more to our mobile sports offering, Yahoo Sports and Verizon’s family of media brands are becoming … an alternative for partners and advertisers,” Brian Angiolet, SVP, global chief media and content officer at Verizon, said in a statement.

The new agreement comes as Disney seeks to expand the ESPN brand digitally, including launching a standalone SVOD service this year.

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said that when the telecom purchased AOL and Yahoo in 2015 and 2017, respectively, a major objective was distribution of sports programing to more than 1.3 billion users across the Oath platform.

“As we look at digital media viewing, that’s got to be the cornerstone,” McAdam told Yahoo Sports.

The executive believes that after three years working with the NBA, Verizon can leverage all “those digital eyeballs” to better position the telecom (and advertisers) for next-generation 5G mobile technology.

“We’re going to completely change the way people view sports,” McAdam said.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the live-game experience for fans continues to evolve, with younger viewers increasingly consuming content on mobile devices.

Indeed, the agreement includes a $25 million joint fund to underwrite interactive 5G products centered around the end-user.

“If we want a pick-up game with five people in five different cities and do slam-dunk contests, you’ll be able to do it like you’re sitting together on the same court,” McAdam said.