Why have Sky Sports finally decided to move football onto YouTube?

Coming with some what of a surprise at the start of the new season, that the Premier League have decided to put all the match day highlights onto YouTube. Through sharing their coveted rights with the third party platform – is YouTube really the platform of the future for engaging a gambling audience?

It’s clear that the way we are consuming media is changing. YouTube is the second most searched word on the internet (after Google). We delve more into the topic of video and streaming a bit deeper here, ahead of our Digital Marketing Forum on the 18th September which will discuss this topic further.

Moving their football highlights onto YouTube means that Sky will essentially be linking their social media platforms. This gives a gateway for added traffic coming to the site, which has been originally generated from the YouTube.

Tomos Grace, head of sport for EMEA at YouTube dismissed the idea that Sky Sports has cannibalised itself, in this action as he has touched on the genuine effects that the deal has had on Sky’s audience, as well as the revenue that it brings in partnership with the marketing funnel.

Sky’s subscribers have gradually fell over the years, from the being at the peak of their following in 2012, they has 9.46 subscribers, where they now have 8.61. The numbers for live Sky games fall between 250,000 and 1.5 million views – this is significantly lower than the broadcasters who don’t charge for their services, such as ITV who broadcasted the 2018 World Cup. They allowed 26.5 million people to watch England crash out of the semi-finals to Croatia. The women’s World Cup also attracted more viewers, with 7.6 million viewers tying to watch the quarter final victory over Norway.

So it seems that there is a disconnect when it comes to football fans and Sky TV, or arguably even a struggle to justify paying the monthly prices which the Sky subscriptions come to. As a result to this, Grace has suggested that Sky Sports’ investment into YouTube has been influenced by three main factors – revenue and audience, and to increase traffic into the Sky Sports platforms.

“There is a revenue factor. It’s not just turning analogue dollars into digital dollars. There is meaningful revenue that partners can make on YouTube.”

1.33 million peopler subscribed to the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel, where it boasts 1,445 videos. Matchday three’s highlights hit 3.6 million views in just 24 hours, with Liverpool v Arsenal being the most popular fixture with 873,000 views. As well as this, the YouTube adverts included links to the Sky Sports betting website and app. This is an excellent way to increase clicks into the sites in a much more simple, yet more effective way.

Sky’s rival, BT Sport, boasts lower linear audiences but they did embrace YouTube earlier, where they jumped the gun in 2013. They now have 2.19 million subscribers and 783 million video views on its channel – they do show other sports than football however – where they link to other betting and social platforms.

“There is a large potential audience on YouTube, a younger audience.” Grace says. “Some of [Sky’s] Premier League highlights have already had over a million views. The UK population is only 60 million, so it is an impressive start.”

In many of the highlight videos, there are overt signposts to Sky Sports and BT Sport to pick a subscription. But there is another layer to this; Broadcasters find potential customers who can post their ads across the internet. The partnership is less a concession that pay-TV is declining and more a play to swell the member subscription ranks.

Then there is the secondary factor of immediate revenue, which is generated from pre-roll ads on each video which shows the highlights, there is either an ad, which generally lasts around 15 seconds, or 5 seconds after you press skip. If the click rates through these adverts are high, then then revenue which comes from these ads will be higher.

It seems that the reason why Sky have moved to YouTube is to build audience engagement cross channel, but how can affiliates learn from this and build audience and revenue from their own streaming channels too?

Register for your ticket to attend our Digital Marketing Forum on the 18th September and learn with some of the industries experienced video content marketers to find out how you can access this medium and monetise it effectively in your business too.

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