‘Goaaal!’ Amazon Gets Record U.K. Prime Membership Sign-Ups Streaming Premier League Soccer

Amazon says its foray into live-streaming Premier League soccer matches in the United Kingdom has resulted in record sign-ups with the e-commerce behemoth.

Prime Video streamed 10 matches between Dec. 4-6 with an army of cameras, operators, sound engineers and on-screen talent to analyze the action.

Amazon said it set a U.K. record for Prime membership sign-ups on Dec. 4, which was then broken again on Dec. 6. Amazon does not disclose Prime membership numbers. Media reports suggest Amazon has 15 million members in the U.K. since launching in 2007.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“We’re delighted that millions of football fans enjoyed watching Amazon’s first ever round of Premier League matches on Prime Video,” Alex Green, managing director of Prime Video Sport Europe, said in a statement.

Green said the matches — similar to IMDb TV and Prime Video content — featured in-program special features such as live stats, ‘X-Ray’ highlights, in addition to commentary-free option.

Amazon’s next Premier League action is a nine-game slate on Dec. 26.

Follow us on Instagram

 

Amazon Prime Video Expands Live Sports Programming with BT TV Distribution Deal

Amazon Prime Video, unlike Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV+ and Disney+, continues to embrace live sports programming. Prime streams NFL Thursday Night Football, in addition to select Major League Baseball games.

Now in the United Kingdom, Prime Video has struck a distribution deal with online BT TV service in time for Premier League soccer.

New and renewing BT TV subscribers will get free six-month access to Prime Video, which includes Amazon’s first live streaming of England’s top professional soccer league.

Prime Video, beginning Dec. 3, will live-stream 20 Premier League matches, in addition to the UEFA Champions League and Emirates FA Cup football.

Original Prime Video programming includes: “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” “The Boys,” “The Grand Tour,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Carnival Row” and “Good Omens”.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“With six months Amazon Prime Video on us offering access to even more Premier League matches, all in one place with integrated search and one simple bill — there’s never been a better time to be on BT TV,” Pete Oliver, managing director of marketing, BT Consumer, said in a statement. “Prime Video also offers great TV and film, so there really is something for everyone this festive season.”

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.

 

 

 

 

Facebook Watch Video Service Expands Globally

Facebook Watch, the social media behemoth’s streaming video platform launched a year ago, is expanding worldwide. The platform will be available to Facebook users globally beginning Aug. 30.

The move comes more than two years after Netflix launched globally, and Amazon followed expanding Prime Video to 200 countries in December 2016.

“This is a really important moment for us,” Fidji Simo, head of video at Facebook, said in a statement. “It’s been a year of real progress for Watch. Every month, more than 50 million people in the U.S. come to Watch, and the total time spent has increased 14 times since the start of 2018.”

Maybe, but according to recent data from The Diffusion Group, more than 50% of Facebook users don’t know what Watch is. And fewer still use it. A noteworthy statistic considering Facebook is spending upwards of $1-2 billion on original content for the platform.

Content includes access to select professional soccer and Major League Baseball games, “SKAM Austin,” an episodic teen drama series, based on the Norwegian Web series “Skam,” and “Red Table Talk,” a talk show starring Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris that premiered on May 7 and reportedly has nearly 3 million viewers.

Matthew Henick, head of content planning and strategy and media partnerships at Facebook, said worldwide access to Watch would help third-party publishers and content creators better monetize their videos and better understand how their content is performing.

“[We’re] excited to bring a new distribution platform to our partners around the world,” he said.

 

Report: Facebook Watch Struggling for Recognition — on Facebook

Facebook Watch, the social media behemoth’s streaming video platform launched in 2016, has access to Major League Baseball and Premier League soccer, among other marquee content. But more than 50% of Facebook users don’t know what Watch is — and fewer still use it, according to new data from The Diffusion Group.

In a survey of more than 1,600 adult Facebook users, just 21% said they streamed content on Watch monthly. Another 14% said they streamed content weekly and 6% said they watched ad-supported content daily.

“Despite the slow build of Watch users, it would be remiss to underestimate Facebook’s long-term potential as a large-scale video provider,” Michael Greeson, president of The Diffusion Group, said in a statement.

Greeson said Facebook is employing Watch as a means of exploiting its “massive scale” to sell video, similar to what Amazon is doing with Prime Video. Indeed, Facebook reportedly is spending upwards of $1 billion in 2018 to fund original programming.

Programs include teen dramas, “SKAM Austin,” “Five Points,” “Sacred Lies,” and “Turnt,” in addition to comedies “Strangers,” “Starter Pack,” and “Sorry for Your Loss.”

Regardless of the strategy, TDG contends Facebook – like Amazon and Apple – has the advantage that it is not dependent upon video for revenue growth or sustainability as are standalone video, music and gaming services.

“This is why technology companies are so dangerous to legacy media companies,” said Greeson. “Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon have such deep pockets and vast business empires that they can spin up a service in short order and lose money on it for years if it serves a higher purpose, like keeping Facebook users in the branded ecosystem for longer. For large tech companies, media services are commonly a means to a larger end, not ends in themselves.”

 

Facebook, Disney/ESPN+ Up Soccer Streaming

Soccer may be the world’s most-popular sport that has yet to generate mainstream appeal in the United States. But that isn’t stopping major domestic over-the-top video platforms from inking distribution deals with international professional leagues.

Disney’s recently launched OTT service ESPN+ signed a multi-year media agreement for three more top-division soccer leagues – Australia’s Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League, the Chinese Super League and the Dutch Eredivisie.

In all, more than 300 matches per season from the leagues will be streamed live exclusively in the United States on ESPN+.

“This agreement further boosts the position of ESPN+ as the leading new platform for live soccer matches in the U.S.,” Burke Magnus, EVP of programming and scheduling at ESPN, said in a statement. “These leagues join a lineup of hundreds of top-division live matches from Europe and North America, along with a strong lineup of original and studio soccer programming.”

Last week, ESPN+ announced a new multi-year agreement with Serie A TIM that includes more than 340 Italian soccer matches per year. The streaming service is also home to MLS Live – a collection of more than 250 Major League Soccer out-of-market matches, as well as local market media home for the Chicago Fire.

ESPN+ will carry more than 100 live matches from the UEFA Nations League (UNL), a new tournament among the 55-member nations from the Union of European Football Associations played on FIFA international match days beginning in September. In addition, ESPN+ subscribers have access to hundreds of English Football League (EFL), the United Soccer League (USL) matches.

The service also streams “ESPN FC”, ESPN’s daily global soccer news, information and analysis program.

Separately, Facebook signed a deal with Spain’s La Liga soccer league to stream matches in Asia. The €90 million agreement will live-stream 380 matches in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Maldivas, Nepal, Butan and Sri Lanka.

This summer Amazon Prime Video announced it would live-stream 20 Premier League soccer matches beginning in 2019.

 

NBC Sports Partners with Snapchat for Britain’s Premier League Soccer

Following Britain’s late run in soccer’s world cup, interest in the Premier League has mushroomed in the digital ecosystem.

NBC Sports Group July 30 announced a partnership with Snapchat for “Premier League: Extra Time, a new weekly original show, which will debut exclusively on Snapchat’s Discover page for the Aug. 10 start of the 2018-19 Premier League season.

Each Monday throughout the season, the show will bring a recap of the weekend’s top action and standout storylines, while also spotlighting the super fans that make the league one of the most popular in the world.

A preview of the show will air on Snapchat Aug. 9, with the first episode airing on Aug. 13.

Hosted by Francis Maxwell, the series promises to make soccer fans feel like they’re watching from a true British pub. Maxwell will guide Snapchatters through a celebration of all things Premier League each week – from epic highlights to wild fans and everything in between.

“Premier League fans are among the most passionate and digitally sophisticated out there, and we strive to bring the best content on every platform,” Troy Ewanchyna, VP, digital and NBCSports.com, said in a statement.

“We know that Snapchatters love soccer – over 80 million unique viewers watched World Cup content on Snapchat,” added Sean Mills,head of original content at Snap.

Produced by NBC Universal’s digital lab, “Premier League: Extra Time” builds on two original shows Snapchat and NBC Sports Group partnered on during the XXIII Olympic Winter Games from PyeongChang, South Korea – “Pipe Dreams,” a four-part series profiling three Olympic snowboarding hopefuls, and “Chasing Gold,” a 17-episode series on the journeys of Team USA athletes as they competed for gold.

Amazon Prime Video last month announced it would live-stream 20 Premier League matches starting in 2019.

 

Amazon Ups Sports Streaming with U.K. Premier League Soccer Rights

In a major move, Amazon June 7 announced that beginning in 2019 it would begin streaming live Premier League soccer matches and weekly highlights packages on Prime Video in the United Kingdom.

No financial details of the deal were released, but media reports suggest Amazon could be paying upwards of $12 million per soccer match.

The Premier League claims to be the most-watched sports league in the world, and U.K. Prime members will have exclusive access to 20 matches per season, comprising two full fixture rounds – the first December midweek round and the festive Bank Holiday round – featuring live coverage of every Premier League team.

This will be the first time a full round of Premier League fixtures will be broadcast live in the U.K. In addition, Prime members will be able to watch weekly highlights of all Premier League matches throughout the season.

“Amazon is an exciting new partner for the Premier League and we are very pleased they have chosen to invest in these rights,” Richard Scudamore, executive chairman of the Premier League, said in a statement.

The Premier League joins Prime Video’s growing slate of live sports, including U.S. Open Tennis, ATP World Tour Tennis and the NFL, all currently available to watch on Prime Video in the UK at no extra cost to Prime members.

Premier League matches will also be available alongside Prime Video’s critically acclaimed and award winning Prime Original drama, comedy and sports docu-series.

“We are always looking to add more value to Prime, [including] for the first time, live Premier League matches,” said Jay Marine, VP of Prime Video in Europe.