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The Next Generation of Sports: How to Embrace the Digital Landscape

While it has been a tumultuous year for sports, the move to digital distribution and the changes in content consumption have been slowly shifting for years. Future generations consume sports media in vastly different ways; Gen Z and millennials look for highlights on social media rather than tuning in for the entirety of a live event, and they largely follow individual players rather than teams. If not properly addressed, these consumption behaviors can send shockwaves to a traditional business model built around linear TV.

Just a short decade ago, security for content distribution was such a concern that Verimatrix CRO Lu Bolden remembers a major network declaring, “We will never license content for mobile devices!” Hindsight is 2020, and while it is impossible to predict what will happen next (and after this year, who would want to?), one thing is certain: digital is here to stay. The future belongs to those who realize that digital is not a competitor—it’s a way to augment and extend the reach of existing products and fan bases.

The challenge for broadcasters, leagues, and rights owners? Investing in the next generation while being respectful of existing ecosystems and monetizing the opportunities created by the digital landscape. Here’s how to make it happen:

Transparency, Trust & Visibility of Usage

New business models have created a fragmentation of viewership and a disjointed ecosystem for content distribution – both of which raise security concerns. The digital landscape and the unbundling of sports media gives consumers choice, but it also results in the loss of insight to consumption behavior that can help build long-term relationships with fans over time. This can lead to lost revenue.

With the right security solutions that protect content end-to-end, it’s possible for leagues, rights owners and networks to regain control and restore revenue security to a central authority. This allows for easily accessible consumption data to drive better business decisions and streamline reporting.

Frictionless Barriers to Entry

Gen Z viewers are less likely to subscribe to traditional linear TV models. They expect immediacy and frictionless digital experiences for log-in, viewing, and payment. It is critical to deploy strong security in digital assets for sports media—and it’s just as critical to ensure that these assets are easy to use. Security is key to protect premium and live content, but security barriers could be detrimental for business.

Elegant security solutions will help dissolve the hassle of forgotten passwords, clunky transitions from device to device, and a plethora of bandwidth issues.  

Safeguarding the Business Model

The traditional linear TV business model was fairly straightforward— rights owners entered an agreement and paid a fixed set of fees to broadcasters, and other than the threat of piracy, they didn’t have to worry about what was happening with their content. As the business model has expanded with the proliferation of digital content, streaming apps and the revenue they generate, the attack surface has exponentially increased.

Live sports streams and the apps they are viewed on need comprehensive security – content is no longer the only valuable asset that broadcasters need to worry about. User information and payments must be protected, and data privacy regulations must be met.

Security Solutions to Protect the Future of Sports

An undisruptive, comprehensive security approach is critical for broadcasters, rights owners, and leagues to capture revenue in the digital landscape. Capitalizing on digital opportunities includes end-to-end content and application protection, including watermarking, DRM, anti-piracy and other measures. Get in touch with our team to consult with a trusted security expert about a custom solution that will meet your unique business needs.