In the US and Europe, TV networks are getting into streaming


The Eurovision Sport streaming platform is available now at eurovisionsport.com and via apps for iOS and Android. — Photography simpson33 / Getty Images/AFP Relaxnews

For several years, viewers have been watching less live TV and increasingly turning to streaming services like Netflix. In response to this trend, several media groups around the world are launching new streaming platforms, some of which are available free of charge. Traditional television is seeking to reinvent itself, particularly in the sports sector, which is becoming a new field of exploration for SVOD services.

In the USA, as in Europe, TV networks are betting on streaming. While in France, the Salto platform, which brought together shows from the TF1, France Télévisions and M6 channels, ended service at the beginning of 2023, TF1 launched its own free streaming platform with TF1+ on January 8.

In the USA, ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery have joined forces to launch a joint platform, a kind of "Netflix" dedicated to sports. Through their 15 dedicated sports channels, viewers will be able to follow their favorite teams, across all kinds of sports, all in one place. They'll find the country's four biggest leagues: American football (NFL), basketball (NBA), baseball (MLB) and ice hockey (NHL), as well as golf, motor racing (NASCAR), tennis, the soccer World Cup, college sports and more. In shot, users will have access to all the best sporting action in just a few clicks.

Expected to be available this fall, this initiative promises to turn the audiovisual landscape upside down and shake up fans' viewing habits. For the moment, the price and the name of the platform have not been revealed. However, the package will be available bundled with Disney+, Hulu and/or Max.

Meanwhile, in Europe...

In Europe, the streaming market is also making inroads into sports. The European Broadcasting Union (UBR), which includes broadcasters such as France Télévisions and the BBC, has announced the launch of Eurovision Sport, a free-to-air streaming platform dedicated to live sports broadcasting. The line-up includes swimming (such as the World Aquatics Championships currently being held in Doha), athletics, women's ski jumping, gymnastics and biathlon.

"Currently, only a third of sports fans have access to premium sports channels. Through its free streaming, we hope Eurovision Sport will democratize access to live sports coverage and help grow individual sports through visibility and engagement, encouraging greater participation and making sure we are all ‘united by sport’," said Noel Curran, the EBU’s Director General.

In the UK, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 have announced a brand-new, totally free streaming service. Called Freely, the platform will enable users to watch live TV channels and enjoy on-demand content.

The service will be available both online and directly via TVs. Users will be able to take advantage of several features on the platform, like pausing and resuming playback, or access other episodes. The launch is scheduled for the second quarter of 2024. – AFP Relaxnews

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