Euromedia November December - Page 12

euro news1112v3_news 10/12/2015 18:20 Page 6 hree quarters of English football fans (77%) would like more live Premier League games available on TV, new research reveals. The research, carried out among more than 1,000 football fans and commissioned by Virgin Media, said that two-thirds believe the rising cost of Premier League live TV rights means they will pay too much to watch live football. Only 6% of fans say they were able to watch every match T benefit from the new rights deal, while over half (53%) think the FA Premier League itself will be the main beneficiary. Some 70% of football fans 21% over the last eight years, yet the price of the rights has increased nearly 200% over this period. Meanwhile in the US, for example, NBC is reported to have paid around £660m for six seasons’ worth of TV rights, showing all 380 Premier League matches. This means that US football fans are able to watch more Premier League live football than UK TV viewers. With similar ‘all games’ deals across Europe (for three seasons) UK football fans pay twice as much to watch half the games as fans in Europe. When asked about this arrangement 72% of English football fans branded it unfair with over 60% of fans believing the increased cost is to the benefit of clubs. With some fans not being able to afford subscriptions to watch live Premier League football, or some of their team’s games falling into the 212 games not shown on UK television, it’s not uncommon for fans to miss their team’s matches. When asked what they do in this situation, 28% of fans say they miss the match altogether with 20% watching games at the pub and over one in 10 fans (13%) streaming games via a website they don’t need to pay for. Over 70% of football fans said would like be able to watch more of their team’s games live on TV than they currently are able to. According to Tom Mockridge, chief executive officer of Virgin Media, football fans are getting a raw deal. “They pay the highest prices in Europe to watch top-flight football on TV yet are denied some of the best matches. Ofcom should show the red card to the Premier League and the way in which TV rights are sold in the UK.” In terms of the Ofcom investigation, Mockridge said it was time the regulator decided whether an auction structure based on now expired commitments agreed in 2006 justifies a self-determined exemption from competition law. “The results surely speak for themselves, over the same period the cost of live TV rights has rocketed by nearly 200 per cent,” he observed. “Collaboration is the new world order for engaging fans, viewers, and customers. Working with new creators from different media and disciplines are the new types of partnerships that will make us successful.” “As content creators, we’ve never had it so good,” she said. “The appetite for content has never been greater, and there has never been a better time to be in story-telling. Relative newcomers such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu are often painted as disruptors, threatening to topple the old media establishment, but they’ve also provided new opportunities for talent, more windows in our distribution chain, and most importantly, more opportunities for viewers to watch their favourite shows and to discover many more. Clearly, they are having an impact on the funding and distribution models that we’ve all been used to,” she noted. She said that demand for content had never been so strong, whether snacking on mobile devices, or losing whole weekends at a time on binge-watching. “So it’s not technology that is the threat, nor is there ‘too much good television’.” Virgin Media: Fans demand more Live TV football Some 70% of football fans think it is unfair that they have to buy both Sky and BT bundles they wanted to on TV at home. The research was published as Ofcom approached the first anniversary of its investigation into the sale of Premier League rights. The regulator launched its investigation in November 2014 following a formal complaint from Virgin Media. In February 2015, the Premier League struck a deal with BT and Sky worth over £5 billion (€7.1bn) to show just 168 out of 380 games on UK television (44% of games). Only 13% of football fans think fans will think it is unfair that they have to buy both S