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DTVE Interview: Jennifer Batty, head of content acquisition, Samsung TV Plus

Jennifer Batty, head of content acquisition, Samsung TV Plus talks to DTVE about sports streaming entering into FAST and where the market will be heading in the next five years. 

Sports is an extremely expensive market, with the increasing costs to aquire rights and sport programming often behind a paywall, as of result it has made it difficult for content providers such as FAST players to operate within. However, recently sports is showing signs of picking up, with FAST channels changing the way viewers watch sports.

Jennifer Batty, Samsung TV Plus, head of content acquisition, says, with the rise of sports streaming we are currently seeing an “evolution of sports in FAST” and “consumers are looking for new ways to watch sports”.

Samsung TV Plus has invested considerably in sports content on its platform via its wide roster of partnerships. The company has tied with sports streaming provider DAZN, to launch the DAZN Tizen app on its Samsung’s Tizen TV models. The DAZN FAST+ channel is a part of Samsung TV Plus’ FAST offering in Austria and Germany. In addition, the DAZN Women Football channel debuted on Samsung TV Plus in Australia and New Zealand in line with the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.

Tennis is also available, with matches on the Tennis Channel from the Association of Tennis Professionals and Women’s Tennis Association across Austria, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK. Other partnerships, include the CBS Sports HQ channel in the US and the Redbull App which features extreme sports.

“The consumption of sports has really picked up,” she says. “Within the sports world, we have seen a really big shift from sports programming being strictly behind a paywall to evolving where there are different areas and spaces that consumers can watch sports content.”

Amidst the growing presence of sports in the FAST market, Samsung TV Plus plans to expand further into the sports streaming arena, with aims to expand its pool of partnerships with sport content providers.

Batty highlights, “We’re going to see an amalgamation between partners that are out there across the sports market to make it a little bit more attainable for the viewers. Whether it is FAST players, pay TV operators, broadcasters or SVODs partners.”

A more recent and significant deal which the company secured, is the launch of the football-focused FAST channel FIFA+ on Samsung TV Plus in July. The channel developed by FIFA launched globally on Samsung TV Plus, but was negotiated within Europe, says the exec. The football streaming hub showcases a collection of originals, archive programming and highlights from the Men’s and Women’s game. Samsung TV Plus’ users in Brazil and Italy also had access to full live matches of the recently concluded FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.

“The appeal of football is international,” she says. “That’s something that it doesn’t matter where you’re from around the world, we all have our favourite football team.”

Commenting on where the general FAST market seems to be heading, Batty stresses there has been an overall change in strategy across operators since the emergence of FAST, where everything from the “deep dark libraries of the content” was placed meaninglessly on platforms.

She says, “We have seen with the evolution of FAST where the studios, distributors around the world, the free-to-air broadcasters and the pay TV broadcasters are seeing this incredible opportunity to reach an audience that they are currently not reaching, that are watching via connected televisions, or watching on their mobile or tablet, so the quality of the content has gone up.”

The exec cites the highly praised and award-winning sitcom series Schitt’s Creek which landed last month on Samsung TV Plus for free streaming on its relaunched comedy hub.

Looking ahead, Batty says: “We will continue to see the evolution of FAST and content, from your favourite shows that you’ve watched your whole life that you’ve missed that you want to continue watching, from single IP channels to some of the strongest content in the world showing up within the FAST environment. It’s an exciting time as a consumer and as a viewer, with so many options from linear to FAST to SVOD. We say this every year, but this really is the year of content and is just going to get stronger.”

In the meanwhile, as the company focuses on scaling up its sports offering, Batty reveals that more sports channels is due to launch on Samsung TV Plus across different territories with content catered for each region in the next coming months.

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