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.”

 

 

Facebook Reiterates No ‘Premier League’ Soccer License Bid

Facebook reportedly confirmed it will not seek to license Britain’s Premier League soccer for the social media’s Watch over-the-top video platform.

Speaking recently at the Broadcasting Press Guild Lunch in London, Patrick Walker, director of media partnerships, EMEA at Facebook, said a Premier League license bid was “not on the cards” at the moment.

“We’re not going out with the intention of acquiring lots of football rights specifically,” said Walker. “It’s more testing different sorts of ideas and seeing how they work and collaborating with rightsholders.”

Specifically, Walker said Facebook’s strategy revolves around enhances and enticing online usage and consumption for sports leagues and then working with them or a third-party on distribution.

“Facebook, in a way is like the world’s biggest sports stadium,” he said. “There’s around half a billion people who follow a football club somewhere in the world on Facebook.”

Facebook, along with Google, Amazon and Netflix, had been rumored as parties possible seeking to secure exclusive access to the world’s most-popular professional soccer league.

While Netflix steadfastly refuses to consider live sports, Facebook, YouTube and Prime Video have embraced sports, including Major League Baseball, the National Football League and Champions League soccer.

Amazon, which streams NFL Thursday Night Football, reportedly is also considering licensing Fox Sports Regional Networks.

 

 

 

 

CBS All Access Extends NFL Streaming Through 2022

CBS All Access, the subscription VOD service, has extended an agreement to stream all “NFL on CBS” telecasts through the 2022 season. CBS will also expand NFL game streaming access for CBS All Access subs and TV Everywhere to include mobile devices beginning this season.

Previously, only Verizon had streaming access to NFL games — including the Super Bowl – on mobile devices. CBS began streaming NFL games to CBS All Access on during the 2016 season.

The entire 2018 “NFL on CBS” schedule, including Super Bowl LIII, will also be streamed live on tablets via the CBS App for iOS, Android and Windows 10, online at CBS.com, and on connected devices including Roku Players, Apple TV, Chromecast, Android TV, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Fire TV, Samsung Smart TVs and Amazon Channels.

All Access subscribers will receive the NFL ON CBS games that are broadcast in their local market.

In addition to extending CBS All Access streaming rights to mobile devices for the first time, NFL ON CBS authenticated streaming rights will extend to mobile for its cable, satellite, telco and vMVPD partners beginning this season.

“This deal enables us to deliver even more value to NFL fans, our subscribers and our distribution partners,” Marc DeBevoise, COO, CBS Interactive, said in a statement.

“The 2018 season will mark a new era for NFL fans with unprecedented access to NFL games across digital platforms,” said Hans Schroeder, COO of NFL Media and Business.

In addition to the NFL, CBS All Access offers more than 10,000 on-demand episodes spanning current shows from CBS Television’s primetime, daytime and late night lineup, as well as past seasons of select series and classic TV hits.

Exclusive original series include “Star Trek : Discovery,” “The Good Fight,” “Strange Angel,” and “No Activity,” in addition to upcoming original series, “One Dollar,” “The Twilight Zone,” and “Tell Me a Story.”

 

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.”

 

 

 

 

CBS All Access Seeks Wider Audience via Amazon Channels

Subscription streaming video service CBS All Access is joining Amazon Channels, the ecommerce behemoth’s third-party over-the-top video platform for Prime members.

All Access joins HBO Now, Starz, Cinemax, Showtime, Sports Illustrated TV, Acorn TV and Dove Channel, among others, which pay Amazon to market and bill Prime members for access to their services.

The platform is eyed as a unified front for upstart SVOD services competing against Netflix, Hulu and related online TV services.

With more than two million subscribers, All Access last year announced plans to roll out internationally, beginning in Canada. Joining Amazon Channels could help expedite sub growth.

“As the first Amazon Channels partner to offer a linear feed of a subscriber’s local broadcast stations in addition to video on demand,” Rob Gelick, SVP and GM of digital platforms at CBS Interactive Entertainment, said in a statement.

All Access is the exclusive home to original content such as “Star Trek: Discovery, “No Activity” and “The Good Fight,” among other series. The platform also streams NFL football.

“CBS has produced some of the most popular shows in television history – they have a fantastic selection of hit series,” said Greg Hart, VP, Amazon Video.