EPL Broadcasting: New Kids on the Block
For the first time in Premier League history, for the 2019/20 season there will be three companies showing live Premier League matches in the UK. Amazon will be the first to stream its matches exclusively online. The games in the UK will be live-streamed via Amazon Prime (Amazon Prime
also has the exclusive UK rights to US Open and ATP World Tour tennis, and non-exclusive rights to NFL games). The price of the deal has yet to be made public.
Amazon Prime is a subscription service, costing £79 per year in the UK, that combines free, unlimited and next-day physical delivery of Amazon products with an online streaming service. The streaming platform provides films, boxsets and now a growing choice of live premium sports content.
Interestingly, Amazon have bought live-streaming rights to only 20 games per season, along with highlights packages. One set of 10 matches is a Boxing Day (26 December) offering, the other is a set of 10 matches during a mid-week set of fixtures in early December. In addition, it has been reported that four of the live games on Boxing Day will be shown back-to-back – a first in Premier League history. While Sky and BT have games throughout the season, Amazon’s package is an
extremely slim offering of a small number of games within two narrow timeframes. The question is: why has Amazon decided to make the investment at all?
At a basic level, many believe that one of the main objectives is to acquire more Amazon Prime subscribers. The lure of free and quick delivery of physical goods at the speed of a few clicks means people will be more likely to spend on the Amazon website. Evidence from reports at the end of 2017 suggests that US Amazon Prime subscribers spend on average $1,300 per year via Amazon, versus $700 per year spent by non-Prime members.
With 100m+ US subscribers in 2018 (as reported by Variety Magazine), there appears a clear logic in making the Amazon Prime offering even more attractive to the UK market.
The other driver is likely to be data. Understanding subscribers’ physical shopping and online viewing habits gives companies like Amazon the ability to offer the products and services that its customers may wish to buy. Just as Netflix recommends particular programmes through a complex algorithm based on previous viewing habits, Amazon’s aim may be to gain greater traction in the UK by analysing people’s online and off-line behaviours, in order to attune their product offerings further.
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