HomeBroadcastExclusive: BarTV CEO Explains Value Of Grassroots Live Streaming

Exclusive: BarTV CEO Explains Value Of Grassroots Live Streaming

Exclusive: BarTV CEO Explains Value Of Grassroots Live Streaming

In an exclusive interview with Ministry of Sport, BarTV Sports CEO, Josh Mason, discussed the work the live streaming production and technology company is doing in supporting grassroots sport and the value that exists for rightsholders and brands in grassroots sport streaming.

Since 2019, BarTV Sports has streamed over 9,000 sporting events for broadcast or analysis, and as part of a new subscription revenue-sharing program, have returned over $200,000 of critical revenue to grassroots sports organisations.

Discussing the effect of COVID-19 on the production of live streams for grassroots sport and several major codes in Australia, Mason said the introduction of the subscription service was a major milestone to reinvigorate revenue.

“When COVID first hit, we were producing about 2,500 sporting matches a season per winter, and then COVID came about, and it changed the landscape very fast,” Mason told Ministry of Sport.

“We do a lot of white-label production for some of the bigger sporting organisations, Cricket Australia, Football Australia, and others, for the broadcasters, so it put our larger productions on ice.

“They were cancelled very quick.

“In that gap, our dev guys and Liam [Beckett], our CTO, in particular, were straight on the front foot with developing a subscription service.

“We went back to all of the sports during that period and lowered our production costs and said we’re here to support the community and once sport is back there will be restricted crowds and so forth so we gave them the high line of what our subscription model would be.

“We lowered our overall production costs immediately because we backed the fact people would subscribe, then COVID eased, and sport came back, and we could implement the subscription model.

“About halfway through the season, it was still very disruptive, and still is today, we managed to start to split some revenue back.

“Not all of our clients took it up, some wanted to maintain a free-to-use service.

“There was a really good uptake from consumers, it was nice from our side of things to see people getting fans, with some family members miles away being able to engage,” he said.

Talking about more of the challenges facing grassroots sport due to COVID-19 and broadcast, Mason said the roles of volunteers are crucial for grassroots sport with the lack of resources available.

“The grassroots level is really only as good as maybe their last volunteer who generated advertising, or sold sponsorship, and if they lose that volunteer, they have an immediate gap that is hard to fill,” Mason said.

“Grassroots sports is run on the smell of an old rag, they don’t have the resources, and we come in and try streamline the process for them and offer an opportunity.

“The subscriptions were a really tangible opportunity to say we can tap into your community; they are there, and they will pay,” he said.

When asked about the next steps for BarTV and the production of grassroots and elite sport live streams, Mason said: “When we started in 2013, a big focus for us was to try and get the delivery and workflow right.”

“That needed to push down production costs through technology, build it our own end-to-end in the cloud to drive the cost down.

“If we could get those steps right first, then we could deliver to the consumer very consistently and offer the subscription service with confidence it will work and look and sound good.

“The evolution of that will now be to bring in advertisers and work around that.

“We have a very low churn when we look at our subscription side of things, we have a churn the big guys would kill for.

“We may not have the volume of subscribers, but we get emails from people all the time that they want to put their subscription on pause over summer and they almost write it as an apology because they don’t want to leave.

“There’s a really different conversation we can have with consumers, they feel invested in it and they are a part of the community.

“Linking in plans now, we’ve got a very solid pipeline, our workflow is second to none, we’re super confident with how it operates and now we can start to really plug into some of these brands that want some exposure with it and then get some more revenue back to grassroots sporting organisations,” Mason said.

Lastly, providing some recommendations for grassroots sporting organisations in producing high quality and valuable content, Mason said it is crucial to perfect the finer details of the production product.

“They need to make it really simple and keep it simple,” Mason told Ministry of Sport.

“It doesn’t need to be overly complex, it needs to be a nice and clear well-presented product, hence you need on-screen graphics, context for what’s happening on the screen, but make those simple things spot on.

“If you get those things right from the ground up and build that with patience, you can then use that to leverage sponsorship and branding and you’ll find the sporting landscape is very loyal.

“A lot of the organisations are filled with athletes and former athletes, and they have a sense of competitiveness within them,” he said.

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