Amazon to distribute sports content through Screach to pubs, commercial venues

Ecommerce major Amazon [AMZN] has been flexing its strength in the content market by acquiring broadcast rights to flagship sports events via Prime Video. To tap the pub viewing culture in Europe the company is tying up with UK-based Screenreach, a cloud-based streaming solution that aggregates content and can personalise advertising for each venue.

Amazon acquired the rights to 80% of France’s Ligue 1 Uber Eats and Ligue 2 BKT matches. Over the next three years, it expects to broadcast more than 600 matches a season direct to fans via its Prime Video service. It will be hoping this new offering attracts new and existing Prime subscribers, which affect Amazon’s earnings and stock price.

Robert Rawlinson (pictured above), CEO of Screenreach, told Opto that the market for enterprise distribution of sports content is around £10bn. It is sizeable enough to impact Amazon’s share price, but perhaps small in comparison with the direct-to-consumer market of £240bn, which the Amazon Prime app primarily targets.

Amazon’s stock price has been battered since the start of 2022 as investors flee growth stocks. On 21 January the Amazon share price closed below the $3,000 mark for the first time in over a year. There was a little dip buying that lifted the Amazon stock price to close at $2,991 a piece, up 4% from the previous close. Amazon’s market cap is now $1.5trn.


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Glut of streaming services

“There are over 300 streaming services already in existence, and over 150 show sports content,” said Rawlinson. This creates clutter and confusion at venues with multiple screens, he explains. Further synchronising broadcast on multiple screens can also be a challenge, which the company’s platform Screach addresses and manages for commercial venues.

To begin with, Screenreach will deliver football content to bars, restaurants and cafes across France. While Rawlinson declined to comment on commercials, typically Amazon would get revenue share from localised advertising in addition to viewership from the deal. Amazon did not respond to queries on the tie-up.

“We have a roadmap that we can see presence in 27 European territories across different partners over the next three years,” Rawlinson said. The company is aggregating more than just Amazon’s content. It also has an agreement with the NFL and could close as many as six other deals over the next three months, he added.

At a time when Covid-hit bars and restaurants are cutting costs, subscription to cable and sports packages tend to be expensive. On Screach, the venue can purchase just the event it wishes to play. Within the time slot, it can monetise the broadcast by securing local advertisers. The company has also created a cryptocurrency that can be used as exchange on the platform and traded to offset rental costs for content, Rawlinson said.


Fund raising plans

Screenreach as a company is most comparable with recently listed Atmosphere TV, which raised $100m in January in a Series C fund raiser. Investors believe the company is likely to launch an IPO as well. At the latest round of funding the estimated enterprise value of the company is $750m. “Atmosphere TV is a US only based business. They don't do the live streaming and sports,” Rawlinson said, explaining the additional services Screenreach offers.


Screenreach's estimated enterprise value


Rawlinson added that Screenreach is in the process of appointing a global banker to launch a Series A funding round for the company.

The launch is likely around mid-2022 and will be looking to raise about $30m. Eventually the company may launch an IPO. “In some cases, IPO is the best way to crystallise value for investors. Whether it's through a trade sale or merger or other mechanisms it is too early to say,” said Rawlinson. “We will do what's best for our investors.”

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