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2024 is set to be a pivotal 12 months for the sports broadcast industry, with the 2024 Olympics and UEFA Euros both on the horizon. With a forecast global television audience of four billion for the Paris Olympics alone, 2024 viewing figures are all to play for.

As the broadcast landscape continues to expand with the arrival of digital disrupters such as Freely and Max offering access to new sports events, competition for eyeballs will be fierce in the next year. So, how can businesses set themselves apart from the competition and capitalise on the endless opportunities that the months ahead have to offer – all while clawing back revenue and boosting their bottom line?

The cloud is calling

In 2024 we’ll see the continuation of traditional media companies confidently leaning into streaming as they recognise the demand for seamless, on-the-go viewing across different devices. Add to this the new generation of viewers who will expect services to be available via streaming, with nine in ten 18-24-year-olds heading straight to streaming when looking for something to watch, according to Ofcom.

With the free TV market in the UK moving towards IP, growing ambition and bold claims around the technology have become key on the agenda for sports broadcasters. For those looking to shift towards OTT delivery, it’s vital they establish the right infrastructure and systems to deliver content at scale with broadcast quality. Just think of the buffering glitches that disappointed fans during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Working with a partner that has scaling capabilities can help bolster cost reduction opportunities for platform operators. With the advent of free services and increased ad funding, streaming service providers can leverage IP to help achieve goals around reducing their cost base, reaching new viewers and delivering on audience demand.

The hunt for more ad revenue

New entrants into the sports streaming space and the development of free services through ad funding means that traditional linear revenues may be at risk. Tiered offerings and price increases from the likes of TNT Sports indicate that even industry heavyweights are not immune to external industry pressures and must adapt accordingly in the face of moving goalposts.

Here, we’ll see industry players increasingly looking towards opportunities around Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV (FAST). Last year saw the rise of FAST in the US, however this new approach is now gaining traction in the UK thanks to the likes of ITVX. As the adoption of FAST accelerates next year, more consumers will be getting free content (via ad exposure), content providers will have access to new revenue channels and platforms will gain more content to engage users.

Through FAST, we’ll really see the sports broadcast and media sector claw back advertising revenue from the online media sector. Expanding to digitised and diverse linear advertising should be seen as the next area of development for broadcasters.

Accelerate addressable advertising

As we shift gears in 2024, the importance of analysing consumer needs will be pivotal to push media companies to produce highly targeted content that satisfies both varying viewing tastes and advertiser demands.

Broadcasters and content developers will need to look at how they optimise, operate and reach broadcast platforms, so that they can maximise the value of these platforms to get a return on advertising value. Enhancing opportunities around platforms such as Sky Ad Smart and deploying targeted advertising around Freeview will be key. Industry players should consider making targeted advertising bets on free-to-air TV, which is now possible without having to collect much data on customers.

Tapping into the power of fandom and community

Adding to past ideas around an interactive experience such as companion apps, next year a true second screen experience will be tightly coupled with video experience product placement, dynamic advertising, gamification and more. Winning over audiences will all be down to creating tailored and interactive moments that extend beyond the live show itself.

Traditional broadcast channels, over-the-top (OTT) platforms and social media feeds play pivotal roles in generating excitement among fans. To maintain and grow a sport’s viewership and engagement, a continuous flow of behind-the-scenes content, analysis, highlight reels, news and interactive material is required before and after live events. This highlights the critical importance of short-form, non-live media in enhancing fan engagement alongside live game content.

We’ll likely see more sports organisations launch their own OTT apps and channels. Think FIFA+ and the NBA app. Both already offer original content, personalisation and access to real-time match updates, clips and highlights, aimed at recognising and rewarding fans.

To set themselves up for success as they look towards the busy year ahead, broadcast businesses must look to adopt the latest technologies that will allow them to drive cost efficiencies while improving viewing experiences. As audience engagement will be key to driving revenues, industry players will need to deliver diverse, rich, multiplatform experiences while balancing their budgets and looking for new revenue streams.


This article "Coming on stream: Capturing audiences and futureproofing sports broadcasting in 2024" was first published in SVG Europe -




Greg Burns – Head of Media Products


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