John Skipper: “We’re out the blocks first and we want to stay ahead”

DAZN Group’s Executive Chairman John Skipper sat down with Atlantic Media’s Jemele Hill at Web Summit 2018 in Lisbon, to talk about streaming services vs traditional sports broadcasters. The annual event brings together the good and the great from across the technology industry, giving incredible insight into the future of the best and brightest companies across the globe. Here’s what Skipper had to say:

“Sports is now the only content you have to watch live. It’s the only content that’s unique, when Real Madrid and Barcelona play, the only way you can watch is if you have that subscription. That’s why I made the move from ESPN to DAZN, at ESPN I learned the value of sport and its clear the future will be over-the-top.

“It’s a better platform. If it’s delivered directly from an over-the-top platform to a consumer, you can have that one-to-one relationship. It’s the future.

“The fundamentals of what we’re doing in sports is the same. The only thing that’s changing is the platform on which those are delivered. The sports that matter are still the same. You’ve just got to learn the technology.”

Skipper spoke for a short while about DAZN’s approach to the USA market:

“Boxing is in a moment of time where it is not quite the international sport it once was. The most important boxer in the world is Canelo Alvarez, he is the king of pay-per-view. He sold 3.6 million pay-per-views in his last fight for a total ticket sale of $250million.

“If we’re going to start a subscription streaming service in the United States, I wanted to find some content that would get us started. So, if I can find those 3 million people who paid $80 for a fight, I believe they can find the economics of a $10 a month sports streaming service attractive.”

Jemele Hill and John Skipper also talked about some of the struggles getting people to trust a platform such as DAZN.

“When you disrupt old platforms, there are points where people have to get used to new things, they will try and do it the way they did before. When we launched in Italy in August, we had the Juventus game, people turned on their television and tried to watch it on Mediaset or Sky Italia.

“We have the advantage of focus – this is the only thing DAZN is focused on. We buy rights and put them on our streaming platform. We focus on customer experience and what we can do that’s advantageous because we know what people are watching. We know when someone’s engaged, and we can then do things to make that experience better.”

Jemele, formerly of ESPN and a current sports journalist, also asked about Skipper’s position on adverting:

“We do not have advertising in our subscription service right now, but we will. What we will do is, just as we disrupted the ability to watch sport through an app, we will also disrupt the way advertising works. We will figure out ways to integrate content in to the production.”

Skipper ended on a summary of the way DAZN is leading the charge in OTT sports streaming:

“We’re creating a service whereby whatever screen is most available and/or advantageous you’re going to be watch the game on that screen. You’re going to watch it on whatever screen you want, that’s the future of sports consumption and all video consumption.

“We have a very clear mission, DAZN is the first company in the world that is going into places and created large sports media services. In Japan we’re arguably the most important sports media service right now, we have more content and viewership than any other service.

“Where I want DAZN to be is to get out in front and become the service that’s leading the way and is in more places than anybody else. I do believe we have a moment in time where we’re ahead of anybody else, my intention is to get further ahead – we’re out the blocks first and we want to stay ahead.”

You can find the Web Summit YouTube channel here, including a live stream of the final day and featured videos of many speakers from throughout the event.