Friday morning’s CEDIA Expo panel discussion focused on live sports streaming, led by Marc Finer, managing director, communication research at DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, began a much-needed dialog between the CI industry and live sports streaming providers, offering a host of new opportunities for the integrator channel.
“We’re open to working together,” said Rob Stecklow, senior VP of marketing, sports and news at Paramount+. “I think the possibilities are out there, we would just need to know from you how you want to deliver that to customers.”
“This avenue is an education for us,” added Brian Gilmore, VP of sports streaming at Peacock. “It’s just a matter of understanding what the opportunity is and how do we tailor-make it to this group.”
Unlike movies, TV shows, and video games, tens of millions of sports fans across the globe share the experience of live sports, and they crave the one-of-a-kind events sports provide. “They want to be able to access and enjoy these events at any time, on any device, anywhere they go,” said Finer.
Tom Doherty, director, new technology initiatives, HTSA, and Walt Zerbe, senior director of technology and standards, CEDIA, joined the discussion to bring their insights and a CI perspective to the table.
“Our industry is performance-oriented, and it would be great to have information provided by these platforms to be able to educate ourselves so we can optimize our systems or be able to communicate that well to our clients,” Doherty said.
“We also need GUIs that could work well and be interfaced well with the equipment that we’re installing, so it’s a friction-free process for someone to actually go through it and use your apps,” Zerbe added.
Could opening a continuing dialogue about streaming sports and other genres with new and existing clients become a source of reoccurring revenue as a service for the CEDIA and CI channels? “Yes,” enthused Doherty, “and it needs to be! We have to be doing this, and those that aren’t doing it now need to start thinking about it.”
“The days of just delivering hardware, I believe, is no longer,” added Zerbe. “We’re still going to deliver the hardware, but we have to get more involved in the streaming service and maybe more of a concierge service to help people. Like when you are interviewing to do a job for a customer, you need to ask these questions: ‘Are you into the NFL? What sports do you like to watch?’ We’re falling down right now with that, in my opinion.”
“It’s critical that we start to address this more aggressively, and we think there’s a lot of potential here for the integrators of the channel—particularly with new ways of supplementing their revenue stream with content support services,” said Finer. “The next step is up to the integrators. If you have interest in this, and you’re an independent dealer and a member of CEDIA or a member of a buying group, reach out to them and encourage them to get more involved.”
To learn more about the DEG Live Sports Council, contact Jean Kevicki at [email protected].