DAZN will be celebrating just its third birthday on 10th August but the UK-based over-the-top (OTT) subscription service is rapidly growing into a mature media brand.
Its platform is now available on four continents - including services in the US, Germany, Brazil and Japan. The company is now also pursuing bigger rights targets, with chief executive Simon Denyer recently stating an intention to go after domestic National Football League (NFL) packages.
For now, DAZN’s next play is in the shape of its Spanish Premier League offering. Reports suggest that the value of the Premier League’s overseas broadcast rights have risen by 35 per cent to UK£4.35 billion (US$5.3 billion) - despite a domestic drop-off - with that rise being partly driven by the entry of new OTT players into the market, including DAZN.
With DAZN’s Premier League rights acquisition set to bear fruit as the new season starts, SportsPro speaks with Veronica Diquattro, the company’s vice president in southern Europe, to discuss continental strategy and the service’s bid to become a dominant sports media name in Spain.
Since the launch of your Spanish operation, what have been the key takeaways in the first few months? And what can we expect there, as well other established markets, from the service in the coming years?
The rate of acquisition of new users has been faster than expected, and the percentage of active users is particularly high, showing that our customers are deeply engaged with our line-up of premium sports.
In these first months we have worked to educate the consumer, to consolidate our relations with the rights holders and we are very satisfied with the level of awareness reached. In addition, social channels that are a thermometer of user opinions, show very good results with 83 per cent positive sentiment.
Our goal remains the same: to allow easy and affordable access to sport for all fans and give control to users, offering the best experience and the best sports catalogue.
Veronica Diquattro was appointed DAZN's vice president for southern Europe in January.
How important is DAZN’s exclusive rights agreement with the Premier League for the growth of your Spanish operation, especially as it marks the first time that the league will be available to stream in the country?
It’s no secret that Spaniards love soccer. We have already streamed some of the biggest international soccer competitions that have performed really well in our first months, such as Copa América or Copa Libertadores.
Now, we are excited to bring fans closer to one of the world’s top soccer leagues with exclusive coverage of the Premier League but also the Championship, League One and League Two, plus the FA Cup and Carabao Cup. For fans that love English football, DAZN is the number one destination.
This compelling line-up means we are well positioned to grow the audience of the Premier League as we did in Germany over the past two years.
DAZN recently signed a new distributing deal with Discovery to sub-license Eurosport 1 + 2. Why is this a significant deal, particularly in Spain and Italy?
We are excited to bring fans closer to one of the world’s top soccer leagues
Veronica Diquattro, DAZN's vice president for southern Europe
This is an unprecedented content distribution alliance that makes Eurosport 1 HD and Eurosport 2 HD content available live and on demand to DAZN users in Spain, Germany, Austria and Italy.
This agreement is important because it is the first time that a sports OTT introduces linear channels from other television channels in its offer.
There is a lot of talk about the fragmentation of supply, but this agreement demonstrates that OTTs have the power to regroup other sports content services, including live channels, other OTT services, and federation broadcasts into a single platform, and to expand audiences globally.
Likewise, Spain is proving a market of growth for OTT and mobile streaming. How do you see DAZN taking advantage of this appetite for live streamed content moving forward?
In this sense, our own production is fundamental and at DAZN we are creating more and more original and exclusive content, in alignment with what our users demand. And last but not least, all of this must always be accompanied by affordable prices and flexibility for the user, with no long-term commitment.
The consumption of content is not going to stop evolving. Technology will keep evolving and therefore, new ways of enjoying our favourite content will emerge. And only those platforms that adapt to these changes and the demands of the audience will continue to grow.
With some of Spain’s major sports properties, such as La Liga, launching their own OTT services, how do you see the relationship between rights holders and media partners evolving around streaming rights distribution?
Single sport OTT have great appeal to avid super fans and can offer additional content and open up new monetisation streams.
On the other hand, multi-sport OTT services attract a mass audience and can drive these huge audiences from one live event into another at scale around the globe. This is because we’re able to deploy a centralised global platform, backed by the economies of scale, which strips out cost and gives more value to the rights owners and sports fan alike.
In the longer term, we believe both single and multi-sport OTT will co-exist. Ultimately just like we are aggregating Eurosport, we’ll look to integrate single sport OTT services that help us deliver our ambition to make watching sports more affordable and accessible.
Neymar is among several high-profile brand ambassadors working alongside DAZN's Spanish OTT operation.
How influential have DAZN´s appointment of Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo or Jose Mourinho as brand ambassadors proven for your content drive in Spain?
Joining forces with top icons such as Neymar, Cristiano or Mourinho is part of our content strategy that combines original programming alongside premium live and on-demand sport streaming, in order to engage with our viewers and bring them closer to the sport and athletes they love.
On 9th August, to celebrate the start of the European soccer seasons, we will be releasing an interview series under the title The Making Of. The series consists of nine episodes in which Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr and legendary manager José Mourinho relive the significant games that helped define their careers.
And for the first time, The Making Of will be available on DAZN in all nine markets where we are live.
Likewise, what was the thinking behind the launch of DAZN Media? What has been the overall feedback from brand partners?
Sport is uniquely placed to carry advertising due to its natural breaks, being watched predominantly live and the opportunity to be creative with sports stars and brands. Our research even showed that when you get it right, fans look forward to seeing commercial messages.
DAZN Media was formed to unlock commercial opportunities for brands across DAZN and our sport websites, including Goal, Sporting News and Spox. So far, it’s been well received, with brands including Nike, Volkswagen, Krombacher, Tipico and bwin running campaigns.
These partnerships are important because they allow us to invest in quality content and new technology that gives fans the best viewing experience at an affordable price. We are excited to see what possibilities they offer.
Veronica Diquattro is speaking at the SportsPro OTT Summit, which is taking place in Madrid from 19th to 21st November. For more information, click here.