Janice Hughes and Rob Collier represented Redshift at MWC 2018 in Barcelona and have prepared their perspectives in a summary article. It is a pair of viewpoints from different angles: Janice has attended MWC for many years and this year she hosted the keynote on the first day with Gavin Patterson, Sher Wang, Jeremy Fox and Jeff Zucker; for Rob, it was his first time in Barcelona and at Congress.
Extracting universal themes from an event as large and diverse as MWC is challenging; we’re using our own firsthand experiences (built on worn shoe leather and sore throats) to highlight the key messages that we heard from the mobile ecosystem at MWC:
Given his recent work with sports rights holders, Rob was particularly interested to see how some of the world’s most popular entertainment brands were represented at MWC. Sport remains a hot topic for mobile operators and telcos. Gavin Patterson, BT CEO, said that its sports rights was the main point of focus for a local pay-TV operation; as more mobile network operators consider their diversification, the interest in content propositions will increase and, as we’ve seen across many markets, high-profile sports brands are crucial to drive adoption of subscription services.
Formula 1 counts itself amongst the most renowned sports brands and the Liberty Media-owned franchise was out in force in Barcelona. The F1 stand occupied prime real estate at the entrance to the main conference stage and incorporated two racing cars and an eSports tournament stage. The F1 media team used the conference to announce a new OTT service aimed at developing a younger audience. It’s certainly a mark in the sand; F1 is going direct-to-consumer in major markets (Germany, US and Italy were all listed in the initial press release) and foregoing potentially significant pay-TV deals. It presents both opportunities and challenges: will F1 be able to generate the same sort of scale without a broadcast partner? How can it create value from more direct relationships with their viewers? To what extent are they positioned to attract a younger audience (especially given the competition with FormulaE)? Watch this space.
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