“There’s clearly more money to be made online than there is out of those broadcast deals,” said the former president of News Corp. “There’s more money to be made on a subscription basis, targeted, they’re global, there’s almost zero distribution friction, so, I think there is more money to be made.
The holy trinity of sports in North America – the NBA, MLB, and NFL – have been slow to move content and broadcasts to streaming video on a large scale, but the revenue stream will not be ignored by them anymore. Money is a funny thing.
“What the leagues are grappling with, particularly the bigger leagues, are the breadth of their audience on those free national platforms,” he said. “But look, 15 years ago they said sports would never be on cable, that you’d never see the NFL or the NBA on cable. They’re all over cable at this point and I think you’ll see there’s an inevitable evolution.”
As to who would get the first shot at one of those big distribution deals, Chernin, despite his ties to AT&T, wouldn’t name a potential winner. But, he said, it likely would be a telecom or one of the dominant tech giants. Google, for example, has been rumored to be in pursuit of a deal with major sports leagues in the past.
Chernin Group and AT&T, meanwhile, two years ago, failed in an attempt to buy Hulu, the second time the video aggregator was up for sale.
But that miss hasn’t deterred AT&T from pushing forward in the video space, Chernin said, recounting that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told him “there’s nothing more important to us than video.”
As Chernin noted, digital distribution continue to gather momentum and it’s likely to result in “a golden age for video distribution.”
16 karma points
After all, none of us spend enough time looking at a screen. </sarcasm>