NBC Sports and Turner step up partnership to take on OTT market
NBC Sports Digital, the digital division of the US television network, and Turner, the US media giant, have expanded their partnership to combine their over-the-top streaming platforms, Playmaker Media and iStreamPlanet, respectively.
Under the long-term collaboration, the two companies have said they will deliver OTT live streaming and video-on-demand solutions for major sports leagues, professional team franchises, emerging leagues, regional and national sports broadcasting networks, the Olympics and other rights holders of live event content.
The pair have been working together since 2009 and combined last summer to deliver NBC’s live streaming coverage of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, which attracted 100 million unique users.
NBC holds the rights to the Olympics until 2032, having extended its commitment in a 12-year, $7.65-billion deal that comes into effect after Tokyo 2020.
NBC’s Playmaker Media provides streaming capabilities for American football’s NFL, ice hockey’s NHL, motor racing’s Nascar and English soccer’s Premier League, as part of the network’s multi-platform rights deals.
Turner’s iStreamPlanet delivers coverage of NBA League Pass, the competition’s full-season live broadcast service, eSport’s ELeague, a joint venture between Turner and sports and entertainment agency WME-IMG, as well as college basketball’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championships, commonly known as March Madness.
Commenting on the announcement this week, Eric Black, chief technology officer NBC Sports Group Digital, said: “We have a long history of working with iStreamPlanet and have collaborated with them to successfully stream some of the biggest events in sports, including multiple Olympics and Super Bowls, to massive audiences. This is a natural fit as the assets of each company complement the other, providing the most robust offering for customers.”
Mio Babic, founder and chief executive of iStreamPlanet, told Sports Business Journal: “The market needs an alternative solution to BAMTech. It’s the only game in town outside of NeuLion … The market really needs a competitive solution.”
The OTT and VOD solutions market is predominantly dominated by BAMTech, the video live streaming technology company that grew out of the interactive media and internet arm of Major League Baseball, and NeuLion, the USA-based internet content services provider.
NeuLion’s clients include American football's NFL, basketball's Euroleague and mixed martial arts' UFC, while BAMTech, which is part-owned by entertainment giant Disney, has content deals with the MLB, the NHL, golf’s PGA Tour and wrestling's WWE, with its OTT clients boasting a total of 7.5 million subscribers.