Streaming Wars For Live Sports, Entertainment, and Gambling

Cross-posting

Broadcast wins again over the cable paywall as streaming simulcast looms as a future option.

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Makes sense as nothing can keep growing and Netflix had a hell of a head start but those with content libraries, tons of money (Apple), Peacock Paramount, Xubo, Freevee, Pluto TV etc. Granted some of them are not so good but they are in the market place and do pick up scraps here and there.

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Gambling And Fight-Sport Regulation

Who's Watching The Store?

This matter is an example of historic relevance, but it has modern lessons as the matter of mass-gambling no doubt will be addressed all the more by more and more regulation. This is not often a good thing other whenever there is overreach, but we are headed there fast now.

This example itself is a bit off the topic, but it is the off-season and winter so after thinking about it, I figured why not to post this one. It's also a very informative and entertaining clip from somebody who is deep and well in the know from his criminal past.

Franzese is spot on with regards to the underlying matter as long-suspected by most people any more with regards to the sport of boxing, but he does not go into specifics on any given fight or fighter as far as corruption but does cite examples of those who could not be corrupted.

The larger perspective is just why there has to be somebody in charge of watching the store whenever we go down the roads of gambling, including in this case all the more fight-sport.

When so-called "Daily Fantasy Sports" was unregulated in the US in 2015 after laughably exploiting quite the loophole in federal law, it had its run for awhile until means of corruption were exposed, for which there were prior online examples in prior years at any given unregulated, or regulations poorly enforced, for games for prizes.

The State of Nevada, for also business and political motives of course, called their bluff and simply declared the activity as gambling and all legal gambling in Nevada is regulated.

Many states followed and now all such games are regulated, for if it sounds like gambling (or a lottery) and looks like gambling no matter how innocently fun it looks, IT IS GAMBLING.

Anyway, enjoy these 18 minutes for the history here but note I post this to cite the lessons of these experiences and the bigger picture for our brave new mass-gambling and mass-addiction era.

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I have heard Franzese a couple of times talk on the radio - I could listen to that guy talk for hours. That dude will let you behind the curtain and explain everything.

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More Graphs, Charts, or Tables for Fans of Those Too

Sports is still in relative terms small potatoes when it comes to the major streaming platforms. That is not an exaggeration as otherwise very strong growth continues in viewing of live sports on streaming.

It is most telling that in the US, Paramount+ has the most subscribers of any major platform with live sports, with ESPN+ a distant second and Peacock last. Paramount+ includes access to all NFL games on CBS in your local market.

Even so for market share, Paramount+ does not even crack the chart linked below!

The data in this first link are through 3Q2022, so with prime viewing in 4Q2022 with Amazon with the NFL games, it will be most telling if the trend for services continues to decline or remain flat but for Disney+ and Apple TV+ showing healthy quarterly gains.

  • Note that Disney+ and Hulu+ are split up on the chart, but combined they have more than 25% market share and would be atop the list. As referenced above, the services may be combined after a massive reorganization beyond mere streaming media at Disney as ABC and ESPN sports and various entertainment content could be spun off for its own standalone streaming service.

  • Note that any service not in the top 6 for market share does not have even 5% market share!

Source - Go To Bottom for Additional Links

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BIG WINNING NFL IMPACT FOR AMAZON PRIME IN US

And in relation to the chart below and a telling update,
Amazon Prime is king in streaming in the US now.

Sure enough, the NFL drove subscriptions to Amazon Prime even above those added by Netflix.

Think I am exaggerating about the NFL impact for Amazon? Well there’s more below in the article in Variety in the second link about Netflix’s success in 4Q2022.

Certainly there could have been other drivers, but I don’t doubt for a second it was mostly the NFL.

Interestingly, look at Paramount+ leap 3% in market share to even make the chart and be even with Apple+ TV!

“Tulsa King” might have done the trick.

For those interested, it started out slow and then was solid before it fell off a cliff, no longer interested, in Episode 7. Be prepared perhaps for a let-down, but it’s all your preferences of course.

Many series on streaming, which are appealing enough beyond Episode 3 to keep watching, seem to go that way straight off a cliff by about Episode 7 for some reason.

After Episode 7 if it works out for you, it seems like the show then becomes heavy binge material with multiple seasons.

The theme song to “Tulsa King” holds up for good all the same. It is how television theme songs were for a long time before they screwed them up some time give or take after “The Sopranos.”

Netflix reported its fourth-quarter 2022 earnings Thursday, revealing financial performance for the three-month period during which the platform’s cheaper, ad-supported plan launched and the new Tim Burton drama “Wednesday” regularly dominated the weekly Top 10 rankings.

The streamer added 7.66 million net new subscribers in Q4, compared to its own estimation of 4.5 million additions.

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Athletic has an article about the conundrum of sports viewers vs putting it on streaming vs cable.

Items of note from the article:

While the belief abounds that one day everyone will stream, that day is not today, and sports fans are stuck between old- and new-world paradigms.

“Monetizing the streaming platforms is increasingly important because we’re running out of gas on the price increases on the established pay TV bundle,” said Patrick Crakes, a former Fox Sports executive and currently a media consultant. They need “to distribute across all platforms … they’re twisting dials and looking for the right calibration, looking for the right frequency.”

The rights bills still have to be paid, so it’s poor business to fill streaming services with low-interest content that doesn’t grow the subscriber base — even if it creates irritation among consumers who must pay for another service atop their cable bill.

NBC surveys its Peacock subscribers and results show that the most satisfied customers are its Premier League and WWE fans.

While major championships such as the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup finals, The Masters, etc., will remain on linear TV (while simul-streamed) for the foreseeable future...early-round playoff games to begin migrating to streaming-exclusive in the next three to five years.

The mass distribution model for entertainment (including sports) has evolved several times, starting with the move from radio to television in the 1940s and ’50s, then to cable in the 1980s and ’90s. Then, the rise of the internet, smartphones, and social media added additional complex aspects to distribution.

“The inflection point was this: When the cable TV audience became as large as the broadcast TV audience, you had to satisfy both,” Berke said. “We’re starting to reach that with broadband distribution. More and more content will be found exclusive or semi-exclusive on streaming because that’s where your audience is. Content where the audience is.”

But for now, the audience is still primarily on cable, though only in about 65 million homes, down from 100 million a decade ago. Those who have stayed are paying steep sums every month and so don’t take kindly to paying extra for what they had previously had with their cable package.

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Now this is rich and a great job by NBC to basically find evidence for their own predetermined self-fulfillment, and I had written about this matter and all the folly at NBC Universal before.

The round of heavily nodding golf claps in that board room at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan must have been almost deafening if not also with heavily reverberating echos all over the building once the executives heard these home-cooked findings and all the scorching hot takes as delivered!

NBC certainly did not bother to survey CABLE customers who are fans of either back in 2020 when they should have.

Now they are running multiple ads even during NFL games to try to chase down all the subscribers who left them for T-Mobile, including me in November 2021.

If NBCU’s Comcast had done their homework especially with a captive audience during a pandemic as would have made customer retention easier and not more challenging, and even worse had not alienated customers including especially fans of their Premier League coverage for years, Peacock would not be lagging so badly and droves of customers they are trying desperately to win back at Comcast would not have left for other broadband servies.

Did you know that Comcast is still charging rental fees for broadband routers, after any given promotion is over? Why? Obviously they have not figured out this is not cable television 2010, and overwhelmingly most people in a modern era of streaming with FREE alternatives sure are not going for equipment rental fees!

Two claims made here are simply not true in an otherwise excellent article.

  1. In 2022, for the first time, streaming subscriptions surpassed those of cable and satellite.

  2. “Paying extra for what they previously had.” The author neglects to mention that in reality, many cable subscribers started getting wind about 2018 that they were paying MORE for not the same but LESS and then even less with every six months or so. Certain content, including especially much sports content, disappeared and record informercials were at hand or were suddenly extra.

The better titles on demand would not be available as often on what felt more like an arbitrary schedule. The cable bundle deal was hardly a fair shake and has not been for years not months!

Cable and satellite and that old paywall model are now in third place.

Though an excellent article, for whatever reason the article seems to be ignoring that the cable paywall model that lingers is in third place behind broadcast and streaming now.

What is described for cable has long been an anachronism as structured by the cable industry in that “bundle” fewer and fewer want and for which fewer than ever are paying now after years of getting a rawer deal.

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Of interest is that Bell showed NFL Divisional & Conference playoffs only on CTV and none on TSN linear channels.

If you're a cord cutter and sub to TSN+, you can see the games on the enhanced feed of the games.

Is this another attempt to prop up CTV to stem some of the decline in general tv viewing?

Is this a signal that support for TSN's linear channels are continuing to be eroded - moving to milk the cash cow mode since sub growth has been decreasing for a decade?

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More For Free or Very Cheap On Streaming

Free or Very Cheap Is Good Only When Something Has Value

After getting Paramount+ for free for a year, with Netflix free indefinitely so long as I have my mobile plan that includes Google TV and more than I can possibly watch on various free apps as well, how much do you think a year of Paramount+ costs?
US$49.99

As Gary Thorne would say years ago, "SCORE!"

Check your deal in Canada and if there is anything at all that is of some periodic interest on there for sports, it's a score for an annual plan plus of course any given free movie in the Paramount library.

Given how the media firms are losing a lot of money in streaming but for Netflix and perhaps Amazon Prime, I am not sure on the whole of the strategy at hand but please do not Paramount's strategy, as noted in the data and pie chart a few posts above, is to buy into market share now.

Tubi's Accelerated Approach - More For Free, And...?

Tubi, owned by Fox and not doing so well despite being free, appears to be accelerating in this direction to buy market share.

The operating theory, hardly new in business in technology and media circles, is that you must buy into a fair market share before having a chance to turn a profit because at some point in the marketplace, if you are not there it's too late. The theory has its points and counterpoints.

Notice the release of new free titles on Wednesday. It was only two years ago when your cable company was charging you $3.99 and up for a viewing remember?

As February is the shortest month, I think you can bet on a whole lot more coming.

But why has not free been working for Tubi?

Note that Paramount also owns Pluto TV, which has also not only live content, just like on your prior cable menu, but also a lot of free titles.

I'm a bit confused on the whole of the business strategy by Fox via Tubi here when plenty of free, and more than you can watch even if fully retired, is out there.

@Jon asks some excellent and common questions here, which arose in the USFL thread but are applicable in general especially to live streaming of any sports or entertainment as are subjects of this thread.

Here is my response based on his remarks.

As you know Paolo I am far from an expert on streaming and the networks and the like that you seem to know a lot about. I do have Tubi as part of my package although it isn’t nearly as user friendly as cable and is often jittery.

Well I am impressed that you have even been to Tubi, for Tubi has low market share even though free. I went to Tubi only once recently, but like most I have ample other free content elsewhere already.

Now the fact you report that Tubi is jittery, even with a solid internet connection, would seem to explain that perhaps Fox is behind even lowly Peacock for mass satisfaction of live streaming!

Many cable subscribers in 2023 have never had more leverage as well. Much of the cable industry was caught well off guard in 2021, years after simply not listening to most customers, since customers en masse began to cut ALL cords not merely the cable television as since 2010.

Now the cable companies are more aggressive than ever with better offerings to get the business back, and they are also more aggressive to not let customers leave because they know getting them back is either not happening or going to cost them a whole lot more than ever before with their stupid “bundles” all those years.

My question for you is how do free streaming services such as Tubi and this Pluto I have been hearing about ever make money if all content offered is free?

Like YouTube for several years now well before streaming of content on other platforms became the norm, almost all free or very cheap content (i.e. Paramount+ only $50 per year plus they have live sports and channels including the NFL, same company owns Pluto TV and they share some channels too) is paid for by advertising revenue. Even many individual vloggers on YouTube have channels with followings such that they generate revenue based on a formula that also includes likes and views of their channel.

But are the larger media firms making a profit via streaming content that is free? I’ve covered much there in prior posts above, but in general the answer is no but for Netflix and it appears Amazon now too.

Neither Netflix or Amazon are free unless, as did I, you sign up via any given promotion from an affiliate where you are buying some other service (i.e. cellular service, a store membership, Amazon Prime, et cetera).

Otherwise for major media the alternative is to be left in the dust behind the cable and satellite channel paywall, which as of the summer of 2022 are no longer the majority of video subscriptions in our brave mass streaming world.

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NBC Comcast’s Peacock On Its Last Legs? Or Is This Real Success?
:thinking:

To make up for the removal, Peacock is offering a promotion to new subscribers. You can get an annual subscription to the ad-supported Premium tier for $30, down from $50 normally.

This move follows a similar strategy right now by competitor Paramount+ for a year for $49.99.

Of course Peacock has been not a matter of cost for many any more when free or at lower prices, but for many Peacock has been a matter of the quality of service and the selection of content on the platform.

Premier League fans have been particularly miffed at attempts to push them onto Peacock, but now NBC has relented and airs one match per time slot on weekends on regular TV plus sometimes two per weekend on NBC proper plus also often at least one on Telemundo.

Paramount is throwing a whole lot more at Paramount+ now. Is NBCU otherwise looking to Disney’s looming and likely move for the remaining 1/3 of Hulu from Comcast and going from there for perhaps a rebrand of its Comcast unit’s Peacock over the summer?

To its credit, Peacock did achieve 20 million subscribers in 2022 with a boost of 5 million in the quarter via also the World Cup, which is somewhat odd because one could easily have watched those games for free elsewhere as did I.

From Comcast’s report for all of 2022:

• Peacock Paid Subscribers in the U.S. More Than Doubled, Surpassing 20 Million; Peacock Revenue Nearly Tripled to $2.1 Billion

As a 6-month free promotion was running on Google TV recently and as Peacock is bundled with XFinity at no charge amidst many other free trial promotions out there, I would note this looks to me like very loose use of the term “paid.”

https://www.cmcsa.com/static-files/564f8423-ccdf-45d7-b2c7-8e31212b04d3

Now however NBCU’s Comcast did draw in the subscribers is to their high credit all the same, but we’ll have to see just how many stay around by April.

But now with that outstanding revenue growth comes the terrible news:

> Although Peacock nearly tripled in revenue to $2.1 billion, its loss widened again compared with the previous year. The company noted an adjusted EBITDA loss of $978 million, compared with a loss of $559 million in 2021.

Peacock tops 20M subscribers in Q4 as losses widen | TechCrunch.

I’m taking the under.

The next tell of any more gloom could be by early May when we look a subscriptions and financials via Comcast for 1Q2023.

Streaming Wars Indeed - T-Mobile Circles Comcast's Philadelphia Headquarters For 25 Hours Straight

All's fair in love and war, and here in the City of Brotherly Love, well now ...
:face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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I really am waiting to see what happens with ESPN/ABC and Hulu - and How that plays out - I want to see if Disney spins off ESPN and ABC and what they do with Hulu. There are so many different paths that those scenarios could go over the next few years.

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Am I the only one who is absolutely sick and tired of hearing the adverts for draft-kings and other gambling outfits? Bet this much and get free money - etc etc - On the sports podcasts I listen to I have to just skip them - amazing that this is the advertising holding the sports podcast industry together.

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You are hardly alone. We’ll see if 2023 is peak marketing for gambling before reform.

Once so many more get involved and lose vast sums, and some horror stories follow that are often the fault of the gambler but no matter gambling addiction is a growing problem much like other addictions now, well that’s when politicians will be hearing more of the voices and well, that leads to reforms though usually not all of them are good.

I notice the Mannings participated in a token gambling public service ad for NFL sportsbook partner Caesars after the run of unfunny commercials for years now.

When gambling was contained more to certain venues, with sports gambling chiefly offshore and illegal or in Nevada in the US, sure there were issues but they were more contained.

Those days of course are long gone now, and I see the mass action even in the movement of betting lines unlike the days of yore when you could find a good opening or early line on Tuesday nights at the sports book.

The NFL and others of course are forestalling any given reforms, including basic ones such as a conspicuous disclaimer that “Gambling Involves Substantial Risk of Loss of All Amounts Wagered,” given the massive amount of money coming in now and the especially dominant political influence of the NFL owners.

Sports gambling companies, casinos and lotteries saw the most significant spike in NFL sponsorship agreements. DraftKings, FanDuel and Caesars became sportsbook partners in 2021 after the companies struck five-year pacts worth just under $1 billion combined. The NFL also landed secondary deals with BetMGM, WynnBET, Fox Bet and PointsBet.

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/01/26/tech-gambling-alcohol-helped-nfl-earn-almost-2-billion-in-sponsorships.html#:~:text=DraftKings%2C%20FanDuel%20and%20Caesars%20became,WynnBET%2C%20Fox%20Bet%20and%20PointsBet.

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Keep An Eye On MLS via Apple TV

The CFL would be wise to keep track of how this new deal goes for the 2023 MLS season, for as a niche league it is most exposed via Apple TV though hundreds of out of market games are still available via ESPN+.

Apple TV+ has 6% market share that has stayed flat recently (see article with graphic above), so this means if the new MLS offering turns out to be successful, the new MLS subscriber base is heavily niche and dedicated.

Apple TV+ subscribers get a discounted price of $12.99 per month or $79 per season. For comparison, NBA League Pass is $14.99 per month or $99 per season. ESPN+ streams up to 350 out-of-market MLS matchups for $9.99/month.

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Premier League and UEFA Champions League - Video or Streaming:
Now Worth Far More and “The Only Games In Town”

Contrast the following thoughts with what will be coming up for the MLS via Apple TV.

First here’s some background on what happened in January for soccer in the UK and Europe and what it means for streaming worldwide.

In the Premier League in England, specifically in London now, quite the disruption for all of soccer in Europe has taken place with ripples around the globe.

Chelsea FC alone had outspent ALL the rival major leagues in their entirety on continental Europe.

So-Called Financial Fair Play rules that were supposed to be at hand starting a decade ago had been a serious joke, and the new American ownership of Chelsea (effectively wrested and rightfully so from the former Russian owner) simply were able to work around the rules legitimately and exploit the situation to lay more egg on the face of UEFA in an audacious mockery of the association as well, but I won’t digress further.

So now these developments in the market for the best players in the world, with the margin of quality of the best overall play in the Premier League now even greater, leave essentially only two major soccer leagues or competitions on the globe with vastly more valuable rights when otherwise the World Cup is not being played -
Premier League and UEFA Champions League.

The value of the rights for Premier League, now under contract with NBC in the US and with TSN in Canada, just went up even more.

Now as noted above, NBCU’s Comcast’s Peacock app sucks and stands for a rebrand and relaunch pending cited events by January 2024, but no way will Peacock be holding up for such more valuable coverage for long.

I have no doubt other media players will outbid and outshine NBC if they don’t overhaul and replace Peacock and their entire now stale production to cover the Premier League.

Meanwhile, CBS and Paramount+'s rights to soccer leagues. along with those of other apps like ESPN+, seem now less valuable as otherwise the the CBS rights to UEFA Champions League are far more valuable.

UEFA Champions League is a good place to be now and for 2023-2024 for media rights, including via Paramount+ in the US with growing and smashing ratings.

Even so given this disruption in the market for the best players in the world via namely Chelsea in the Premier League, and given a major legal ruling by the Supreme Court in Spain recently in favour of Real Madrid and Barcelona, the matter of the Super League, as prophesied after its failure in the Spring of 2021, will arise anew before too long to challenge UEFA Champions League for those even more valuable rights too.

The trend for rights for the best two soccer leagues or competitions in the world, and perhaps for a resurfaced challenger, is way, way up now including via streaming of more content than ever.

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