Key Considerations for Live Streaming Sports Events in Singapore


1. Introduction to Live Streaming Sports Events

However, the change imposed by the adoption of live streaming to the traditional business model of sports broadcasting and also to the broadcasting strategy of the industry remains poorly understood. The impact of live stream service on the overall experience of the event in the stadium and the reactions from the home and global audience are not well documented as well. In this paper, the key problems faced by sports broadcasters in live streaming Singapore of sports events are identified and explained. In addition, the reaction of the broadcaster to the online demand of the sports event is analysed with the aid of a simple model. Finally, potential problems in loss of exclusivity of the sport event rights are examined.

The increase in adoption of live streaming of sports events in Singapore, both by operators of sports venues and by consumers, has driven the need to re-examine some of the factors that broadcasters typically consider when capturing, encoding and distributing live streaming sports events over the Internet. Sports broadcasters traditionally focus only on the home ground audience for the event. However, with the advent of live streaming on the Internet, sports broadcasters now need to consider the global audience as well. In addition, the increase in adoption of live streaming by sports venues has raised the question of whether the live streaming event at the venue competes directly with the traditional broadcast in terms of coverage and whether the value of the live broadcast is significantly diluted with an online event.

1.1. Definition and Importance of Live Streaming

The demand for receiving sports events live is a demand for users to get their content right away. This is especially critical in sports coverage where spoilers can easily ruin the enjoyment if the sport’s result is not received in time. The need for live sports events is reflected by social media, where discussions happen in real time, during a live broadcast. To cope with the bandwidth requirements for live streaming, TV operators and service providers are now turning to multicast technologies based on technologies such as the Lean Media Data (LMD) Encoder.

With the growth of the internet and IPTV technologies, many of the traditional broadcasters have either migrated or prepared to offer their programs on these over-the-top (OTT) platforms. These video-on-demand (VOD) services have over time shown that they are capable of reaching a much wider audience, rendering time-zone shifts irrelevant and allowing viewers to pause, rewind, or watch shows they have missed on demand. VOD sports also became widely available and changed the dynamic, from a scheduled appointment with a TV channel programming to a customized, on-demand experience. But while VOD is ideal for events already completed, live sports events have grown in importance, still providing huge revenues for operators worldwide. As a result, operators are now investing big, looking for technologies that allow them to make their content available on an increasing number of devices.

2. Technological Infrastructure for Live Streaming

The best infrastructure investment is through mobile carriers, satellite TV, cable, electronic security, internet, and computer networks. Every person in the world has more internet access. Internet access speeds around the world are evolving with service providers offering higher data rates than ever before. The internet and the quality of telecommunications inside national borders have a profound impact on competitiveness. In the service provider’s business, the demand for bandwidth resources is growing, fueled by demands for high-speed, internet-based access to millions of global users. Advertising is the main source of income for websites in Singapore’s new digital age. As a result, for advertisers, a target is essential to meet stricter regulations. Users can view a live or recorded webcast, sports documentary, CD, software update, or some other digital information provided.

Technological infrastructure in Singapore is advanced. There are various internet service providers that offer home broadband as well as mobile data plans. Currently, there are path-breaking high-speed broadband services offered, and people are subscribing to the service, making it one of the most connected countries. For sports entertainment, the companies make their broadcasting arrangement via satellite in Southeast Asia for reaching a large audience in South Asia, Southeast Asia, or Singapore. The demand for sports evaluation has risen rapidly due to the growing use of the internet. Sports broadcasting and evaluations are an increasingly important part of the TV and entertainment industry.

2.1. Key Components of Live Streaming Infrastructure

The Content layer includes the optimization of the distribution bit rate of the live sports streaming services and the efficient coding and delivery of the video feeds to multiple device platforms to enhance the quality of live sports streaming delivery. It should also include the provision of formats for different client device types, such as SD, HD, and Ultra-HD video formats, and the provision of high dynamic range (HDR) and WCG images and High-Order Ambisonics (HOA) audio formats. In addition, the content layer involves the encoding of the audio-visual feeds. The encoded audio-visual feeds are then sent to the distribution layer, which is further detailed in Section 2.1.2.

Content Layer

In order to build an effective live sports streaming infrastructure, MediaKind suggests that providers in Singapore adopt and deploy the MediaKind Integrated Receiver Decoder (IRD) platform, which can simultaneously receive, decode, descramble, encrypt, and output multiple distributable content streams. This platform can connect to the OVP for the redistribution of the content streams. The suggested infrastructure by MediaKind is segmented into three layers, as shown in Figure 1, namely, the Content layer, the Distribution layer, and the Client layer, which will be further discussed in the following.

3. Regulatory and Legal Considerations

Many of the traditional pay-TV operators in Singapore have now gone into providing both their Pay TV offerings and streaming services. Internet Service Providers are now looking at ways to offer IPTV to further their service suites. The regulator has boarded the shifting boat by enlisting regulations covering both the existing FPS (Free-to-Air) established broadcasters as well as the race to the front for BSP (Broadcasting Services Online) offerings. Regulatory changes involving qualification, location and applications for streamed TV media services are fast evolving in order to capture these digitally converting entities and new players for content management and distribution. This activity has helped to instigate the concept of multiple content security management regimes in paying for premium content services. There are also specific developments for Sports in order to protect local priorities for Sports content broadcasts. Additionally, there were considerations for Sports-style broadcasts for community events held by politically subordinated bodies. Focus in this paper presents only the regulatory and commercial TV aspects of rights and their intentions. According to the Media Development Authority, Broadcasting services are provided via a wide range of platforms including free-to-air TV, broadcast cable, subscription TV and IPTV and that TV is currently regulated under the following regulations: Films Act (Chapter 107); Broadcasting Act (Chapter 28); and Consultation Paper Spectrum Management Framework for Broadcasting Services 8 the Television and Sound Radio Code of Practice.

Singapore’s broadcasting industry has been experiencing a contestable environment with emerging platforms like over-the-top streaming services and digital terrestrial broadcast platforms that have quietly developed in an industry that has constantly been trying to evolve. Traditional media companies have progressively launched their own streaming services foray under a freemium model. Newly licensed free-to-air broadcasters in Singapore have also expanded their reach and their non-linear presence within the local TV industry. Receiving platform proliferation is also an observed trend in the local media industry as traditional TV boxes finally get replaced by Smart TV sets sporting both digital streaming capabilities or Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) set-top boxes.

3.1. Licensing and Copyright Laws

In Singapore, as in most other nations, live images of sports events are subject to copyright and can only be broadcast or live streamed legally if the broadcaster has properly secured the relevant rights from the rights holder. While there is a doctrine of “fair dealing” in Singapore, allowing some usage of copyright material without prior rights clearance, sports content rights are typically heavily protected, and live streaming services of sports events are required to acquire these rights. Often, such sports rights, known as broadcast sport rights, would have been obtained prior to the creation of the sports content and are exclusive to a particular entity. Associations have no legal title to the sports content broadcasts and do not enjoy any copyright protection with respect to sports content included in such broadcasts. Broadcast sport rights occur in natural scarcity and are defined by geographic limits, such as the NLS control region or the territory structure of the PAS. Broadcast sport rights are often the subject of intense negotiations between opposing sides who seek to merge the rights package and to come to a price. In the event no license fees are paid or that broadcast sport rights are not properly cleared, the entity live streaming the sports content can potentially be prosecuted for copyright infringement and has to pay statutory damages, which may amount to very significant sums.

Singapore broadcasters are required to be licensed, and while there are a growing number of live streaming service providers in Singapore, many of these are either subsidiaries of traditional broadcasters or hold licenses for services such as video-on-demand services on the internet. For services that provide live streaming of traditional TV broadcast materials, these entities pay license fees and content rights to content providers. With respect to sports content in particular, rights tend to be very tightly managed and monetized by the content providers, resulting in a closely refereed market in Singapore for sports streaming. RIAs need to understand these differences in the competitive markets and the regulatory limitations when performing market analysis and the documents raised, such as the Statement of Facts and Economic Analysis, and the suggested ruling text for referral to the CCS.

4. Monetization Strategies for Live Streaming

Sports federations and leagues yearn for the highest bidder(s) to the live sports rights auction, whereas sports sponsors and advertisers continually seek new, better ways to reach and influence their elusive target market who no longer subscribe to expensive pay-TV packages. Meanwhile, consumers are forsaking pay-TV for other alternatives – such as ‘cord-cutting’ or rather watching matches on the go via their preferred device. Last but not least, over-the-top (OTT) platforms – broadcasters’ costliest ‘enemy’ – strive for broader distribution, higher subscriptions and favorable pricing attributes to satisfy escalating user and investor demands to monetize, if not profit from sports live streaming. How then should stakeholders in Singapore harness the myriad consumer benefits offered by live sports streaming while effectively navigating the commercial opportunities and challenges?

In the article titled “Key Considerations for Live Streaming Sports Events in Singapore” published in the Journal of Sport Management, Kang and Junhong started by underscoring that sports live streaming has become more commonplace, and delved deeper into its current context by examining how various stakeholders’ pursuits are shaping the development and delivery of sports live streaming in Singapore. The erupted twenty-first-century sport industry has seen traditional broadcast media’s supremacy being heavily challenged due to internet penetration, digitization and social media platforms’ fertile soil. The interconnected relationships between content and consumers have driven the power shift, with traditional sports broadcasters battling newer power players such as Amazon, Disney, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, and Google/YouTube for live sports rights.

4.1. Subscription Models and Advertising

Pay TV and streaming subscription services can feature an economically sizable and unique target group, as fans are dedicated and motivated to pay for sports content, allowing the content distributor to enjoy a dual revenue stream, from both subscriptions and from (dynamic) advertising, thus making sport a particularly lucrative content genre. Ad-supported models are capable of monetizing through targeted advertising, offering a lower access barrier to entry, and can further aggregate fragmented audiences, thus becoming attractive mid-tier options.

With live and on-demand sport content available from various platforms (linear TV, pay TV, online OTT platforms, and social media platforms), it is the fan who is understood and marketed to as the customer. Monetizable access can be accessed via subscription models, advertising revenues, pay-per-view, or even via production and distribution technology services.

5. Case Studies and Best Practices

This section will cover various business models including advertisement financed with AVOD, pay per view, TV anywhere and SVOD, building of communities of users, value-added services to better serve the user, the present the live event sporting content, or the value added part to the end user. Important main decision points for media companies before going to market will be featured: how to deliver in high quality the viewer experience in the best possible way, in the most important countries for maximum revenues and developing the business in a manageable way suitable to the operator’s size. Lastly, the aim is to cover the competitive and market analysis that any potential new sports live streamer should coordinate, down to the smallest detail, including and focusing on the all-important things that other market participants often overlook and items they hope to obtain as no-cost extras, but never will.

This section will examine case studies of best practices of sports live streaming from countries around the world. It will cover established media companies as well as start-ups of various sizes. Topics will range from various business models and methods streaming sports live is accomplished today. Examples of focus include: breaking down consumer segments and their needs for each sport; understanding big factors that sports media companies bear in mind when contemplating the adoption of live streaming; knowing key considerations that media companies cover addressing technical potential performance bottlenecks; real experiences of actual existing sports media companies’ case studies, their considerations and the impact of their decisions. Companies covered will range from established sports media companies to brand new start-ups of different sizes, the range considered to be relevant to consider when sports content rights and wins are due for renewal in the future.