SBS plans app as centrepiece for multi-channel World Cup



SBS plans to leverage its exclusive broadcast rights to the FIFA World Cup across all platforms through the creation of an exclusive app that will stream live content from all angles and drive social media integration.

The mainly publicly-funded network will also launch an exclusive radio station broadcasting coverage of the event from Brazil as it has for the first time secured all broadcast rights, previously shared with Yahoo!7.

Andrew Cook, director of media sales for SBS, said the app will allow users to live stream the game from different camera angles, download content and use a social media component to publicise World Cup related events.

SBS is working with FIFA to developing the app that will expand upon the success of the Tour de France app, which had 270,000 downloads or upgrades during the this year’s race in June and July, and won a Sports Commission Media Award last month.

“It’s a pretty exciting time because compared to where we were four years ago as a technology, it’s going to definitely be a huge asset for us,” Cook said following a second upfronts to showcase the network’s digital developments for 2014 at an event in Sydney on Friday.

“We recognise that sometimes it’s not all about watching it just on the TV, people want to be able to engage on a second stream particularly with the social media,” he said.

SBS also plans to use its streaming service SBS On Demand player to launch several TV series online in full as the first episode is aired on TV.

Cook said the approach allows users to “skim and binge” on content at their choosing has increased audiences already for the network, having trialled it for the relaunched SBS2 in April.

“For us it drives social media and engagement and gets people talking about our content, and we’ve seen upwards of 30 per cent audience increase in eyeballs across various shows that we’re trialling this on,” he told Mumbrella.

“Given the size and scale of SBS, it’s another way to drive people to our player and get them to recognise and get to know what kind of content we have got and it’s absolutely been a great success and we’ll continue to lead that space.”

SBS will also be fast-tracking some shows, such as Masters of Sex on the main television channel and the next season of South Park on SBS2, as well as “slow-tracking” series such as The Walking Dead in full from the start of the show.

Much of the content will be promoted during the main sporting events of cycling and soccer.

The broadcaster also plans to release research ahead of the World Cup that aims to provide a picture of the diverse communities of Australia.  With over 1m non-English speaking residents in the country speaking over 420 languages, and an expectation of up to half of population growth to come from immigration, SBS is keen to find an accurate portrayal of the changing population, Cook said.

Research facilitated by Pollinate is surveying 1500 people across the country to find out what Australia looks like.

Cook said: “It’s not going to be a sales point that all roads mean spend more money with SBS, but for us will be a thought-leading piece of research that challenges people’s thinking around what Australia looks like,” he said.

“Australia’s changing, a lot of brands and advertisers know they need to change their way of thinking and who they’re talking to and how they’re talking to them and we hope we can help them with that. So it will be a pretty interesting piece.”


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