If you’re in the process of launching your OTT platform, or simply considering it, you’ll want to do it right…

Revenue from OTT platforms is expected to swell to $65 billion worldwide by 2021.

OTT content has effectively disrupted the broadcast market, and this includes sports. With revenue from these platforms expected to increase significantly over the next few years, now is the time for sports rights holders to jump in and build something of value in this space for their audiences.

A successful OTT strategy will first focus on audience. We’ve outlined some starter points to get you thinking…

1. Know who your audience is. Not who you think your audience is. Use data to support your audience profiling and build your audience personas for developing relevant content and advertising campaigns.
Tip: Compare social insights with Google insights – are there trends or similarities within the demographics that can build coherent audience personas?

2. Leverage your influencer network. Work with your influencers on and offline leverage their networks and make sure a broader but relevant audience is aware of where and when your broadcast is taking place.
Tip: Providing athletes with content for their own social media channels is proven to be effective.

3. Maintain audience engagement as much as possible. Remember, this is not a linear TV experience. Consider adopting tools that facilitate in-stream engagement, or using other channels to drive audiences back to the live stream via engaging short-form content.
Tip: Create interactive experiences with commentators – fans love to be included in the process

4. Don’t ignore targeted digital advertising. It sounds obvious, but advertising is key to ensuring the audience is aware of the stream. It’s not always as expensive as it sounds – a little buck can make a lot of bang with highly-targeted advertising on social networks and search engines. Hiring a team with expertise in this area is worth the expense.
Tip: Use blended (dual language) adverts, ideally with images and video relevant to the target country.

5. Capture your audience data. You don’t want to spend resources on finding and getting an audience to a stream only to go through the whole process again. By collecting all relevant data, you can recapture your audience and re-target them via email, social media and advertising.
Tip: Install Facebook pixels on your website; link Google remarketing for retargeting; use simple pop-up data capture forms to build a CRM database.

6. Be consistent. This is key to growing your audience. Don’t just stream one sports event, stream a whole series so your audience can recognise a pattern. The last thing you want is for your audience to have extra work trying to figure out how to watch the sport they love.
Tip: Communicate information with each live stream to ready your audience for the next one. 

7. Continue the narrative. Maintaining a narrative between your sports events and your audience is essential. Nurturing emotional attachment in your fans to your event is an important factor in keeping them watching.
Tip: Focus on human stories, and mix emotive content with informative content.

8. Build your network. Don’t rest on your laurels. Use all your digital touch points – social media, email, website – to continuously grow your audience.
Tip: A clever way to reach more like-minded people is using Facebook lookalike audiences. Create an audience based off your current page followers and include them in the advertising process.

It takes time. It takes creativity. But the results can be astounding, and highly lucrative. Nail down your strategy and get moving. OTT won’t wait for you.