Twitch is NBA’s official streaming partner for USA Basketball, Walmart To Start Streaming Service, and other top news

Few key things that happened around the Ad Tech & Media Tech world this week.

 

Twitch is NBA’s official streaming partner for USA Basketball

Twitch has expanded and extended the partnership with the National Basketball Association. The streaming giants will now be the exclusive live streaming partner of USA Basketball games through 2020. Twitch and the NBA are no strangers. Twitch has been home to the NBA G League and NBA 2K League Games, and this month became a streaming partner of the Jr. NBA Global Championship. USA Basketball is the non-profit governing body of American basketball and fields both men’s and women’s international teams, while the NBA handles media and marketing for the organization. With the FIBA World Cup just around the corner, Twitch will begin with streaming the USA Men’s National Team exhibition games for the event. “Our partnership with Twitch is an exciting and unique opportunity to showcase USA Basketball events through their robust streaming audience worldwide,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO. American sports have been looking to Twitch as a powerful digital streaming tool. Fans of football can watch the National Football League’s Thursday Night Football on Twitch. The NBA is unlikely to follow suit, however, as its own media rights are tied up with traditional TV networks like ESPN, ABC, and TNT through the 2025 season. Both American and international audiences will now have an accessible platform to watch the US Men’s Basketball team dominate the FIBA World Cup beginning Aug. 31.

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Walmart To Start Streaming Service

Flipkart, the massive e-commerce company that Walmart bought last year, will roll out a streaming service to users of its mobile app in the coming weeks, the company said Tuesday. The service, called Flipkart Videos, will feature a “curated range of movies, shows, and entertainment series” and will be free. “We believe that our customers shouldn’t pay extra for premium content and hence our offering is different from anything else that is currently available,” Flipkart said in a statement. Amazon’s streaming service, which launched in India in 2016, is part of its Prime membership service which costs 129 rupees ($1.80) a month or 999 rupees ($14) a year. Flipkart will also be going up against big names like Netflix and market leader Hotstar, which is owned by Disney. Flipkart Videos will not have a separate platform, unlike other streaming services, but will serve content within the company’s mobile shopping app. Flipkart is hoping to turn viewers into shoppers. Bangalore-based Flipkart, which Walmart paid $16 billion for a year ago, is counting on the free video offering to help attract its “next 200 million consumers.”

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What Disney’s bundle announcement means for the sports industry

Disney’s announcement of a new bundle package for its over-the-top (OTT) channels in the US market may not have sent shockwaves through the UK sports industry – but it should have. Or at the very least, it should be on our radar. The distant rumble of a tech announcement in the US almost always builds to a deafening clamor by the time it reaches our shores and the industry has had a chance to take in its long-term implications. So what is this one and why does it matter? Let’s deal with the first of those questions first: Disney just announced that Disney+ (its yet-to-launch streaming service) will be bundled along with ESPN+ and Hulu for $12.99 per month, starting November 12th. Who cares? We knew Disney+ was coming later in 2019, and it is not sports. Hulu has some sports but it is only available in the US. ESPN+ is vaguely interesting but again, US-only and anyway, ESPN hardly pulled up trees when it last tried to be a UK sports broadcaster, right? All true. But that hot take would miss the bigger picture. Which is: bundling is back, sport is a major part of it, and the biggest internet giants are going to dominate. Your sports broadcasters of the future: Disney and Amazon. Even if the bundle announced last night does not reach the UK (and the smart money says it does, in some form) there is a very clear picture beginning to form through the clouds of smoke that have thus far engulfed the OTT landscape.

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OTT Video Consumption Skyrockets

Consumers in the United States continue to migrate toward over-the-top video distribution with streaming viewing hours in the second quarter (ended June 30) more than double (130%) from a year ago, according to new data from Conviva. While major markets dominate overall domestic streaming consumption, Dallas, Atlanta, and Phoenix are the top 3 cities when streaming video consumption is normalized by population – ahead of tech hubs Boston, New York, and San Francisco. The percentage of televisions connected to the Internet increased 143%, largely driven by Roku with 173% growth and 43% market share of connected TV viewing. Amazon Fire TV was up 145% in viewing with an 18% share. Apple TV was up 129% to account for a 10% share. “In 2019, streaming is coming into its own,” read the report.  ideo-on-demand now accounts for 66% of all viewing hours, up from 59% last year. While mobile devices command a near-equal share of live versus on-demand viewing at 22.8% and 23.7%, respectively, PCs garner more share of on-demand viewing at 16.5% versus 12.6%, while connected TVs command more share of life at 56.5% versus 53.1%.

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Bundesliga set for exclusive OTT deal with ESPN+

ESPN+, Disney’s dedicated sports over-the-top (OTT) service, is set to add Bundesliga rights to its platform, according to the New York Post. The deal would reportedly see the whole package of games from German soccer’s top-flight exclusively shown on ESPN+ from the 2020/21 season after the current contract with Fox expires. The Post report adds that linear distribution via ESPN could be added, with the deal not yet complete, but an ‘extremely high’ percentage of live games will be on the streaming service. A Bundesliga spokesperson confirmed to SportsPro that the league is currently in the market for a new rights deal and it is having discussions with interested parties. According to the Post, the deal would likely be worth more to Disney than Fox, with the rights offering potentially being used to drive subscriptions and encourage retention for ESPN+ as part of the service’s soccer offering. ESPN+ already has coverage of all out-of-market Major League Soccer (MLS) games, Italy’s top-flight, Serie A, and England’s top domestic knockout competition, the FA Cup. ESPN+ has secured more than two million subscribers since its launch and could be boosted by being bundled with the media giant’s upcoming entertainment streaming platform Disney+ and Hulu, which is now fully owned by Disney.

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