DAZN’s Marcus Parnwell: “Sport is pushing the boundaries of OTT”

The level of sport streaming around the world has grown at an incredible rate in recent years, with OTT services enabling fans to watch the sport they love on whatever device they choose. Sports fans worldwide are now more connected than ever and eager to consume sport live or on demand wherever, whenever.

Our SVP of Market Expansion and Planning, Marcus Parnwell, took the stage at SVG Europe: SportTech 2019, at Lord’s Cricket Ground, to give his insights on the challenges and opportunities for OTT distribution and direct-to-consumer live streaming.

Kicking off the panel, suitably named ‘It’s Just Got to Work – Keeping Viewers and Subscribers Happy when Streaming Live Sport’, Andrew Hall, Director at Tennis TV gave his thoughts on DAZN:

“It’s very encouraging to see companies like DAZN coming along, it raises everybody’s game. Netflix sets the standard and expectations for all our products. People’s expectations are that live sport works in the same way with the same efficiency which presents challenges for OTT providers.”

Discussing the specific challenges DAZN faces as a multi-market, multi-sport offering, Marcus emphasised the importance of delivering a high-quality stream to meet these expectations. He said; “It’s about doing it at scale across different networks. From Japan, which is heavily connected, to north and south Italy that have different levels on connectivity. There are different pockets of good and bad internet across our countries and it’s really about delivering the same high quality to everyone, whether its 4G or 3G.”

DAZN launched in Brazil in May 2019, bringing fans a line-up of top domestic and international football including CONMEBOL Sudamericana, Campeonato Brasileiro Série C, Serie A, FA Cup, Ligue 1, MLS, J-League and AFCON, alongside EuroLeague basketball, Matchroom Boxing, IndyCar Series and WTA tennis. Marcus explained how vital it is to prioritise the relationship with internet service providers (ISPs) as part of this process.

He said: “We just launched in Brazil, where we overlaid all the internet geography with the location of the games we’ll broadcast over the next couple of weeks. One of the main conversations when we launched in the market was with ISPs – we get down on the ground to work out where their networks are, what they’re doing, their servers and we work as close as we can with these guys. They’re the gateway to these consumers.”

Finally, Marcus drove home the value of delivering a high-quality stream to the consumer before adding features such as VR and AR. He said: “The hygiene factor is in low latency, low rebuffering and high quality – you have to get the fundamental rights or else what’s the point. People pay their subscription for quality service – you need to deliver that. We actually go visit our customer services team as product leaders and talk them through our future roadmap to get them engaged. We don’t see them as people on the end of a phone but as part of the team.”