Monday, January 30, 2006

JupiterResearch: France Football Mobile Rights - Part 2

Thomas Husson at JupiterResearch posts that the "LFP (French Professional Football League) announced the results of the RFP for the French mobile rights ...and the winner is...Orange."

Husson notes that "Orange previously owned the "Ligue 1" rights but only paid 8M euros." The deal for the next two seasons is 29M euros, whcih caught Husson by surprise. He writes:

Looking at the number of mobile video phone owners, the return on investment is not obvious. According to Orange itself, the number may well reach 5M during 2006-2007 and 10M during 2007-2008. It simply means the objective is wider : enhancing the brand and gaining incremental market share. According to Emmanuel Vacher, Marketing Multimedia Director at Orange France, it will help to gain 3 to 5% in mobile broadband market share. The amount paid is less expensive than in the UK (47,6M euros for one season and not on an exclusive basis) or than in Italy (52 M euros) and not really significant for the France Telecom Group.
Husson points out the implications for the market:
  • Content is increasingly seen as a source of differentiation
  • Large operators are ready to reduce margins to acquire new customers using this content differentiation
  • Telcos are increasingly competing with broadcasters and producers in this field
  • The difference will not only come from the platform (TV, Internet, Mobile) but increasingly from the notion of live versus pre-recorded broadcast. Indeed, Orange paid 24M euros for almost live content vs 5M euros for the wrap-up of matches.
Given the recent findings from M:Metrics that ESPN Sports News is currently the most popular mobile news brand in the U.S., maybe sports content is the key differentiator and will be the primary driver for bringing mobile multimedia content mainstream.

In many ways it makes a lot of sense since people seem more apt to check scores and highlights when they are out than just reading the news. Next to email, if my NY Mets or NY Giants are playing or a big track meet is being held, then the next thing I look for on my handset are results. If I can get highlights or even live footage then I might be willing to pay as well. Of course, the SlingBox is starting to look more attractive since I already subscribe to DirecTV satellite television and have a Tivo to boot. Content is important but cheap/free is even better..