2 December 2020 | OTT Summit | Meliá Castilla | Madrid, Spain

Q&A with Ben Lavender, Chief Product Officer, DAZN

How will the proliferation of OTT services continue to impact the sports broadcasting landscape in the immediate future?

More entrants coming into the OTT space is a good thing as it helps build momentum and adoption for the medium with the industry and consumers alike. The reality is that we’re at the beginning of the unstoppable transition from linear to OTT. Ultimately OTT will replace linear broadcasting altogether, and with that will come greater choice, value and functionality for sport bodies and fans.

What do you see as the best content innovations that have come out of OTT?

A big thing is unlimited choice for fans. Increasingly gone are the days of a scheduler deciding what matches are screened on a limited number of permanent channels. Now every single live event can be shown, regulations allowing, with ‘channels’ popping up and closing down as the whistle blows. There are no limits when it comes to OTT.

Who do you see as leaders in the sector and why?

There’s a lot of development coming out of the States with MLB.TV and NFL Game Pass continuing to show great innovation. They’re single sport OTT and deliver a quality product for their legions of avid fans.

What can live sport OTT platforms learn from established SVOD products?

We regularly benchmark the competition in every aspect in the sports category and beyond. Undoubtedly Netflix is the gold standard in video quality. Their advantage is that they’re not doing it live which is infinitely more complex.

Netflix’s user interface is ubiquitous and simple, the service is priced competitively, with no long-term contract to watch on any device. On top of this, they have focussed on their underlying architecture to create a robust playback engine. They have done such a good job that customers expect the same experience for live sport, but we have to work harder.

What is your number one criteria for an excellent OTT product?

It all comes down to playback. You can have great content and be available everywhere, but if you get a spinner over a goal in the UEFA Champions League Final or fans hear about the goal first elsewhere, then you’ve got a problem. It’s just got to work and to do that, you need rock-solid playback. We’ve got just that.