On the heels of Yahoo! and Twitter dipping their toes in the sports streaming water, Amazon has reportedly been working on digital media rights for sports leagues. While much of the focus on these new digital streaming options has been on the short and long term impacts on the cable television industry, the less talked about story is the need for these digital providers to differentiate themselves from each other and grow their consumer bases.
Twitter pinned it’s growth hopes on streaming select NFL Thursday night games in an effort to increase their audience. While their relative lack of success thus far should serve as a cautionary tale for other streaming companies, given compelling content there’s still room for success for those interested in digital rights.
Like Twitter, Amazon is hoping to boost growth and differentiate itself among an increasingly competitive group of digital service providers. With growth projected to decrease year-over-year, an injection of fresh exclusive content could serve to increase subscriptions to its all encompassing Prime membership.
With each of the league’s offering their own options to consumers interested in streaming their favorite sport and services such as Playstation Vue and Sling TV providing cord cutters cable-like broadcasts, its far from a guarantee that Amazon’s services would move the proverbial needle. Instead, it may serve as an additional reason for its core users to keep Amazon Prime beyond the bevy of reasons that already exist.
The exclusivity found through traditional cable and television sports media rights deals creates value for those paying. If Amazon was the only digital option for those wanting NBA League Pass or select baseball and football games, digital only sports consumers may be drawn to the service. However, in today’s reality, there are so many options for the sports consumer to watch their favorite games, and so many contracts securing those rights for the foreseeable future, it’s doubtful that Amazon will be able to disrupt that system.