Screach provides an example of a streaming service with sports rights that is not targeting consumers on connected TV at home but addressing the hospitality market including bars, cafes, hotels and restaurants – an activity traditionally dominated by satellite TV companies. In this instance, the NFL (American football) is working with the UK-based live-streaming platform; they have reached an agreement for the 2021 American football season to be broadcast via Smart TV or connected TV apps to thousands of commercial venues across Poland.
The deal marks a decisive move by NFL to expand its live game proposition for the enterprise market in Poland and its choice of distribution partner reflects the increasingly streaming-centric video universe. The Screach platform was developed by the UK tech firm Screenreach and is designed to help commercial premises benefit from sports coverage. This is a cloud-based solution that uses HD streaming to the existing television sets found in the venues.
There is no need for a satellite or cable TV connection: access is via a connected TV app. To be precise, the Screach app is already found in the Google Play Store (so on any Android Smart TVs and Android set-top boxes), on LG televisions, and on Amazon Fire TV (including on the Amazon Fire TV Stick). The app will be available on Samsung TVs soon. Screach even features an on-screen advertising capability that enables venues to turn their TV screens into an advertising platform, the streaming provider points out.
The initial agreement will see Screach stream nearly 80 NFL games to Poland, including the play-offs and Super Bowl LVI live from Los Angeles in February 2022.
Sameer Pabari, NFL’s Managing Director of International Media, commented: “Increasing the popularity of the NFL and the size of our global fanbase is a core strategic goal for us. Reaching new audiences in new markets is central to that – and this is exactly what our agreement with Screenreach enables us to do. Screach will allow us to showcase the excitement and drama of live NFL action to thousands of Polish sports fans.”
Robert Rawlinson, CEO of Screenreach, adds: “Our tried and tested Screach technology offers a turnkey solution for ambitious and astute rights holders like the NFL who recognise the value of the enterprise space, both as a source of commercial subscriptions as well as a powerful way to reach individual fans. We’re delighted to be helping the NFL accelerate its growth in this exciting new market.
“Streaming is already integral to the NFL’s global success; it is raising the digital bar once again – giving thousands of commercial venues across Poland flexible access to NFL content and showcasing the sport to a huge audience of potential new fans.”
Confirming the potentially disruptive nature of this approach to hospitality sports TV, Screenreach says: “Sports rights owners can use Screach to bypass conventional broadcasters’ infrastructure, allowing them to sell subscriptions directly to any venue consuming their content.” The company says there are an estimated 43,000 bars, cafes, hotels and restaurants in Poland to aim the new service at.