“Recovery”. This is how golf players call a difficult, but successful shot, which is often remembered. And that’s what Netflix is trying: the streaming giant is in talks to broadcast its first big sporting event live: a golf tournament.
According the Wall Street Journal, citing people close to the case, the American group imagines a competition in Las Vegas this fall, bringing together both “stars” from “Drive to Survive” , his docu-series on motor racing, and “Full Swing” golfers on the world of greens. The discussions are only in their infancy, however, specifies the American daily.
If they succeeded, it would be a real novelty for Netflix, while other SVOD giants have been involved in sport for a few years. The most striking example is that of Amazon Prime Video. In France, for example, it has the evening matches at Roland-Garros or most of football league 1 . In total, “streamers will spend more than $6 billion on major exclusive sports rights in the world’s largest markets,” according to Deloitte research released earlier this year.
Spotlight via docu-series
Netflix has also reportedly tried to get into the race in the past, trying to get their hands on the live broadcast rights to Formula 1 in the United States, doubled however by ESPN. Netflix has also made offers or watched files in less publicized sports, recalls the WSJ. “We’re not anti-sports, we’re pro-profit,” co-chief executive Ted Sarandos said in January, also noting that the company was looking at opportunities. The California company has yet to find a way to bid for the big league sports rights in a way that is profitable.
It therefore seems quite smart to start in live sport, with a tournament organized by itself, therefore less expensive than well-known competitions. And all the more so since golf has the image of a premium sport, and Netflix can benefit from the notoriety of its documentaries.
“For Netflix, it is a logical continuation of the opening to advertising, since the end of last year . Sport allows you to benefit from a strong audience at the same time, explains Gilles Pezet of the NPA Conseil firm. Netflix further needs to demonstrate that it is a strong candidate to potentially acquire sports rights in the future, starting with a smaller event. Live sport is a real technical challenge”.
Because the streaming giant has not only had successes in its “live” events. For example, in April, the airing of an episode “Love is blind” experienced a blackout for more than an hour, ultimately leading to the reality TV show being rerun.
But, sports can be a great follower retention tool. All the more so in a context of strong competition between players, where subscribers are fickle. “The groups are digging their furrow to win against television,” adds the specialist.
However, François Godard, at Enders Analysis, does not see this as a change in Netflix’s strategy. “It is above all experimental. I doubt that the group will start betting hundreds of millions in sport, when it has other less risky growth engines in its offer with advertising, in subscriptions linked to the end of pword sharing, in games etc., he explains. This is very different from the case of Amazon, which seeks regular programs to retain its customers and encourage them to consume on the e-commerce site”.