Quickplay explores the intersection between sports and streaming

There's no doubt that streaming and live sports have become a tandem, and it's a combo that will only continue to grow more prominent from here.

Among recent examples, Google has inked a new exclusive deal to distribute the NFL's "Sunday Ticket" package via YouTube TV and YouTube starting next season, Amazon Prime has locked up an exclusive for the NFL's Thursday night package and Apple is the streaming home of Major League Soccer along with select Friday prime time games during the Major League Baseball season. Meanwhile, direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming services with ties to traditional big media companies – Peacock and Paramount+ – also offer a bevy of live sporting events on their respective platforms.

On the technology end, companies such as Quickplay are keying on that trend. Quickplay, which connected with Canada's Rogers Communications on a revamped version of Sportsnet's SN Now app, believes the flexibility of cloud-powered streaming services will open up a wide range of new models and packaging potential for regional sports networks, sports leagues and teams.

Quickplay is "seeing a lot of RSNs [regional sports networks] that are having to move out of the TV Everywhere world … or at least begin to develop a more direct relationship with the consumer," said Paul Pastor, Quickplay's chief business officer, who joined the Light Reading Podcast at last week's CES show in Las Vegas.

While most RSNs will continue to support the TV ecosystem for the foreseeable future, many are also looking to address a segment of the population unserved by traditional pay-TV bundles.

Pastor said some models and approaches being explored include purchases of individual games or subscriptions to individual teams. "It's a diversification of business models. That's the driver at this moment," he said.

There's a "tremendous amount of eagerness" to pursue these new models, Pastor adds.

Quickplay's business isn't focused on the likes of Netflix and Disney+, majors it considers to be in the "Tier 0" market segment. Instead, it's focused on a "Tier 1" segment that tends to supply a local or regional focus.

"For us, that's the winning segment of the market because the Tier 1 segment is actually doing hyper-local [with] a strong connection with the audience," noted Juan Martin, Quickplay's chief technology officer. "They have the ability to operate in a local market and be relevant with live content and personalization. That's where we see the growth coming to our service."

You can download a lightly edited transcript of the podcast here. If you want to skip around and listen, here are a few topics discussed during this podcast:

  • An overview of Quickplay's angle on the market and a review of the company's somewhat complicated history (1:00)
  • A review of recent market activity for Quickplay and its focus at CES 2023 (4:00)
  • Execs explain how Quickplay's business grew more than 300% in 2022 (5:30)
  • How Quickplay sees vs. streaming giants like Netflix and Disney+ (7:15)
  • What business models will and won't change when it comes to regional sports (10:00)
  • How traditional pay-TV providers are using streaming (17:00)
  • How "generative AI" technologies will enable streaming services to provide more relevant recommendations and reduce churn for video providers (19:00)

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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