Quality, price, latency or piracy – what are the biggest issues for OTT and live streaming?

The rise of live-streaming and on-demand platforms in sport is an inexorable one: digital distribution will one day be the norm and content produced specifically for these platforms is already becoming vital.

It’s not just broadcasters who have the ability to do this type of broadcasting either. The internet has made things more democratic than ever before and we’re currently seeing the consequences of that as publishers and rights holders create their own content, as fan TV channels and even football clubs are creating more than ever before.

But what is it about live-streaming and OTT that will see it overtake traditional broadcasting? Here are five things we learned from #DSLondon’s November event:

Quality is key

“No-one tells their friends about a great quality stream they watched, but they do about a bad one,” said Tom Middleditch of Eleven Sports. It’s true: the experience of live-streaming sport is key, and convincing people to embrace live-streaming will be the challenge.

Latency may be solved by 5G

5G is coming. Is it the silver bullet? Moderator Raj Mannick of Yahoo Sport recounts the experience of so many fans who have had last minute goals ruined by cheers from the neighbours. It’s a real problem for the credibility of live-streaming. But will 5G – and its 1000x greater bandwidth than 4G – be the change?

Piracy is a huge issue

You can’t watch football on TV (or digital) at 3pm in the UK. But that just leads people to piracy. This is a huge problem and very much the elephant in the room.

Whose job is it to solve this? The rights holder? The platforms who are being used by pirates? Or the broadcasters for their security? Probably a mix of all three.

Data and Social media integration is the future

Certainly when it comes to on-demand content, integrating data and social media is one way of ensuring that there’s an even more engaging piece of content presented to the viewer.

Is fragmentation an issue?

Yes, in a word. But also no, in another word!

Is fragmentation a problem to the person who has subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV? No, not really – people switch between apps easily these days. The problem is the price: those same people aren’t paying £30 for each subscription.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 775 posts

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

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