Juventus team up with Netflix as we see the start of a new trend emerging

Netflix have teamed up with giants of Italian football Juventus to create an exciting series of documentaries about the club, launching early next year.

The series will consist of four 60-minute long documentaries going behind the scenes of the club and following the players on their way to big away trips or simply arriving at training every day. The aim is to take fans “beyond the rough and tumble of matches and training sessions to see what life is like when you play for one of the world’s biggest and most prestigious teams.”

Recently, there’s been a trend towards this type of content. Facebook’s new ‘Watch tab’ has launched in the US and attempts to create a place for longer-form and more polished videos that clubs, and indeed publishers, can make in order to give their fans more on-demand style content. Instead of the short videos that work well on the newsfeed, the social media platform seems to think there’s a place for the kinds of videos people will spend closer to half an hour watching on-demand if they find the content interesting.

Real Madrid were enlisted to be the first club to create this content for Facebook. They’re the team with the biggest social media following, of course, and used their own partnership with Go Pro to shoot many of the scenes from ‘Hala Madrid’, a documentary series in a similar mould, taking fans behind the scenes of another iconic European side, and fellow Champions League finalist from last season.

Netflix, however, seems like a more natural place for this sort of content. It will be long-form, presumably nicely edited and expertly shot as Netflix and Juventus take time to craft the content over the next few months. That, in turn, should create the feeling of something fans might watch in the same sort of way they’d plan an evening to watch a film or a TV show, rather than the more ad hoc way in which they currently consume Facebook video.

That’s a problem for Facebook in a way that it isn’t for Netflix, of course, and it’s one that the ‘Watch’ feature looks like an attempt to address.

But this is also a move which shows that the trend towards on-demand content around sport is growing at pace. Podcasts and other sports talk and insights are proliferating rapidly, as are online shows which follow similar formats but use video rather than just audio. Perhaps that makes them more appealing to a sit-down audience but less useful for those on-the-go. Documentaries like these ones, though, seem to pick a side much more emphatically. An hour-long documentary isn’t something you can take on your trip to the gym or your morning run, but is more likely to be watched on the sofa in the evening or perhaps the morning commute.

From the arms race between live-streaming platforms to attempt to get live sport onto their platforms, it also seems as though there could be a race to sign up clubs themselves to create richer content their fans will sit down to enjoy rather than the usual clips from training or post-match interviews. It makes for a richer spread of football content for the hundreds of millions of fans around the world who follow their teams on social media.

This is probably only the start of the trend. Over the next few months, look out for more documentary style content getting deeper into the heart of clubs, their histories and their fans. Perhaps for streaming services, this is a much more fertile ground for growth than attempting to get the rights to live matches for the time being.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 632 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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