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Strategies for Customer Retention and Growth: Insights from Bally Sports

Parks Associates today welcomes industry leaders from the streaming, content, and video industries to the fifth annual Future of Video: OTT, Pay TV and Digital Media, December 12-14 in LA at the Marina Del Ray Marriot. The in-person conference features the panel session, "Sports Media Rights: Deep Pockets and Big Money," which examines the shift of sports media rights to streaming services and its influence on traditional broadcast television. Ahead of the session, panel speaker Jack Wilson, Director, Digital Content and Post-Production, Bally Sports offered insights on the current state of sports OTT services in the online video streaming ecosystem.

What strategies are OTT players using to retain customers?
For our DTC product, our priority is buy-in from the team partners to promote the message of this new alternative option. Creatively, we are working to develop app-exclusive alternate broadcasts and original content.

How are OTT video services using data to acquire, engage, and retain customers? What are the latest use cases and technologies? Our tactical mix at launch...
VIDEO: Drive Awareness of Bally Sports+
             Programmatic Video, YouTube Video

BANNERS: Encourage Clicks to Site & App
            Programmatic Banners, App-Specific Partners

SOCIAL: Engage Fans on Social Platforms
           Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

PAID SEARCH: Capture Demand
          Google SEM, Bing SEM, Apple Search Ads, Google Universal App Campaigns

IMPACTFUL PARTNERSHIPS: Contextually Align with Sports Partners
           Fanatics, Savage, Wave.TV, Viral Nation, etc

How has the streaming video product market benefited from increased OTT consumption during COVID-19? What are the related short-term and long-term implications?
Not sure this has impacted sports much(at least in our RSN world) ... the live games & events are still what drive everything, regardless of whether people are watching on linear or streaming.

As 5G technology becomes more widely available, how will it impact consumer entertainment? What are the most compelling use cases?
We want fans to be able to take the game with them everywhere they are, so the more reliable the streaming can be, the more valuable/useful our product is.

What are the industry and consumer trends that are driving OTT service providers to blend two or more business models?
One of the biggest things that has forced us to adjust our tactics in promoting our DTC option is sensitivity to the traditional MVPD providers (DTV, cable. etc). We have distribution deals obviously, but many of them are also team sponsors with our partners. For this reason, we have clear delineations of where we do and don't promote the Bally Sports product (only on digital platforms and OOH... never anything visible on linear)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of OTT video aggregation? What industry drivers and consumer trends are driving the market back towards aggregated content distribution, consumption, and subscription?
Live sports rights are expensive. The cost of live sports networks as part of cable bundle are high. And we are now learning there is some real sticker shock from fans when they see the pricing for our live sports product as a stand-alone option, with our DTC product. We need to find ways to mitigate that cost, by being able to provide access to more content in some way.

In the last year or two, what customer engagement and acquisition tactics are OTT service providers using to actively engaging potential and existing customers? How has COVID-19 influenced these strategies?

With the help of our team partners, we are looking to re-engage those fans who cut the cord, and make them aware of this new option. Through years of carriage disputes and cord-cutting, we have been hearing consistently from fans that they want to see the games and are frustrated that they have lost access. We are trying to reach that group first, as they are our most likely customers for the DTC product.

What are the key advantages of OTT bundling partnerships for service providers? What are the potential future trends, opportunities, and challenges?
One of the ways to mitigate the sticker shock is through bundling. We have seen success with that for other sports media companies.

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