Mobile Becomes Big Component Of Long-Term TV Sports Deals

Many more deals for mobile seem to be crucial components of overall sports rights fee deals with TV networks.

CBS just made one -- an extension of its overall NFL streaming media deal -- now running concurrently with its TV contract, which goes through 2022. This mobile deal is for airing Sunday afternoon NFL games.

NFL games shown on the broadcast network have been available to subscribers of CBS All Access, the network’s streaming video service, since December 2016 -- but not on mobile. That belonged to Verizon, which ended this past season.

CBS joins other big media companies in the mobile move extensions: ESPN for “Monday Night Football,” NBC for “Sunday Night Football” and Fox for its “Thursday Night Football” package and its Sunday games.

All this comes with an immediate positive for traditional TV viewers -- live, premium TV content is more valuable because viewers can’t fast-forward through commercials.

Still, nothing is clear cut.

For example, NFL has seen around a 10% drop in viewership of regular-season games last year. Even then, sports leagues will continue to seek even higher rights fees in future. But it isn’t only because of live TV content; it is about who they want to target.

Sports leagues on traditional linear TV networks may have had demographic issues in recent years -- older, somewhat less desirable viewers to some marketers. But research shows mobile means younger, more sought-after viewers.

Mind you, lots of other traditional TV content, when migrating to digital platforms, attracts younger viewing. I’m guessing this would include everything from CBS’ “Madame Secretary” to NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” to ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

Still, there isn’t much overall scale here.

It’s a long-term play when TV networks can get a double whammy by going after sports content on digital platforms: High premiums for live, fast-forwarding TV content and a younger viewership.

Now the key questions: Will millennials like sports as much as baby boomers and greatest-generation viewers? Will it be enough to secure a lucrative media formula for TV advertisers?  

1 comment about "Mobile Becomes Big Component Of Long-Term TV Sports Deals".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 28, 2018 at 10:31 a.m.

    As you say, Wayne, "there isn't much overall scale here". In which case, why has mobile become a  "big component" of long- term TV sports deals. That remains to be seen I would think.

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