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Are sports viewers leaving Sky?

Our biggest saleshouse in the UK, Sky, has been having a particularly tough time recently. The hot summer weather caused impacts to fall heavily across their portfolio, whilst competitors have been stepping on their toes by becoming more involved in live sports broadcasting. Sky built their business through the Premier League and BT used sport to drive their TV proposition’s market share, so seeing Silicon Valley take aim must have been nerve-racking.

Although, Amazon has realised just how hard it is to crack the live broadcasting market with their US Open coverage. They won exclusive rights back in April, and if the customer ratings of the coverage on Amazon are anything to go by they’re not having the best time of it – over 75% of reviews on their site give the coverage 1 out of 5 stars. Users cited poor picture and sound quality, bad camera angles, restricted match choice, short duration of highlights and general complaints about ease of navigation.

This follows struggles by similar firms: YouTube’s premium service going down during England vs. Croatia, Formula 1 refunding customers after having outages during the Spanish grand prix and DAZN’s coverage of Italy’s Series A football failing during the opening game of the season.

All Response Media viewpoint

More competition in the market is generally positive. However, this opposition can take eyeballs away from our TV broadcasters and into their own walled gardens. Importantly, the effect hasn’t been felt yet as Sky’s male impacts have been stable year-on-year (YoY) despite the loss of Spain’s La Liga (now broadcast online by Eleven Sports) and the Tennis. Given the level of dissatisfaction from recent live streams, Sky and BT have most likely seen a short-term benefit in reputation and appeal.

Traditional broadcasters and advertisers needn’t worry just yet about losing subscribers and key audiences to the tech firms. Although, with Amazon taking 20 English Premier League matches a year from next season, and their track record of learning and improving, the true test is likely to emerge late into 2019.