DAZN’s Dom Wedgwood: “Sport is unpredictable, and you have to be ready for anything”

“The way we watch sport has changed. Linear live sports broadcasting doesn’t give the customer enough choice – which is odd in how we run our lives now. We have an on-demand lifestyle that we need to move to within sports broadcasting.”

That was the message from Dom Wedgwood, SVP Broadcast and Technology Services at the AWS Media and Entertainment Symposium today.

“It’s our goal to be the world’s number one sports broadcaster. But we can’t do it on our own. We need partners like AWS, and global, long-term relationships with the biggest and best rights partners and technology partners,” Dom told the audience at Kings Place, London.

Talking about the inception of DAZN, he said that DAZN is made for fans. “We are flexible, accessible and affordable. Every single aspect of the customer journey is tracked. That’s essential to knowing our customers and how our content is performing.”

Ultimately the message was one of change and unpredictability. “The modern fans lives in an on demand world. Live sport is the last appointment to view. In live sport you have to be ready for anything. There are surprises all the time. Huge audience spikes minutes just before the game. We have to be ready to scale up in seconds, end to end, all the way through the distribution chain.”

He explained that DAZN is much more than a streaming service. “That’s what you need to satisfy the modern fan. Our off-platform strategy is led by DAZN+ which includes sports brands Goal, Sporting News and SPOX, and we work with some of the most exciting athletes as brand ambassadors.”

“Our strategy also takes us away from live sport. Original content is a huge part of an engagement proposition, especially in the OTT sport. It’s playing a big part between the tentpole live events.”

But it’s not all about live, Dom said. “There’s always an appetite to watch in an on-demand way. This is especially true in Japan where they are huge fans of European football – so we have introduced downloads, so they can watch on their way to work in the morning.”

He said that innovating with micro-services was creating a much slicker experience for customers. “Our back-end and front-end architecture has moved away from large monoliths to a much more efficient and agile approach that enables teams to be in control of their part of the business and scale much quicker.”

Talking about partnerships such as those with AWS, Dom said they were essential for end to end production. “It really is glass to glass. For some properties we’re responsible for production in the stadiums. We have a global live, IP multi-cast network that enables us to make decision on the quality and integrity of our signals to give the best experience all down the line and hone it for OTT.”

Rounding off the presentation, he shared a few thoughts on CDNs, peer to peer pairing, 5G and the future. “It holds many things. OTT will overtake linear. Latency is another interesting area, if we can reduce that latency it will give us more time to do more interesting things, to enrich the experience for the end user.”