The premiership and conference leagues of online video


TV-Bay Magazine
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In a digital age where football clubs stand on multiple platforms, it’s the tribal ideologies and camaraderie that tie fan communities and club media together. But although personality and branding is key, so is the technology and functionality that powers the media content globally.
Manchester United were ranked 6th most recognisable brand in a world-wide poll, but with an estimated total of 330 million followers, it is claimed that over 190 million of Manchester United fans are based in Asia. So how important is it for the club to maintain its commercial identity through online media platforms? The answer: Very. In a digital world where clubs stand on multiple media platforms, it is vital to maintain commercial identity across multi-media channels.
Online Video has become the leading tool for sharing football’s greatest moments and developments. So for teams such as Manchester United it becomes a universally communicative device that distributes high quality content to wider audiences whilst simultaneously spreading brand awareness globally.
The truth is there is little excuse for a club’s online video platform not to contain assets and functionality visually associated with the brand, but there is still a large amount including premiership clubs that still offer an online video service that seems alien to the clubs image.
An example of a club currently getting it right is Liverpool FC whose online liverpoolfc.tv is now reported to be the most successful [online video subscription service] of any football club in the world. In 2011, Liverpool opted to work with online media experts StreamUK to fully revamp its offering. The club now uses StreamUK’s online video platform StreamMP to power its online video service, a service which now has nearly 50,000 paid subscribers.
So what makes Liverpool’s online video platform so special? Well for a start it is fully branded and sits within the Liverpool website, unlike many other premiership football clubs who still have players hosted on a separate or third party site. This latter separation of content means online viewing and navigation becomes far less attractive than a fully integrated model which fits cohesively within the full branding of a clubs website. Within Liverpool’s site, a user can also associate a thumbnail with a ‘tweet’ – which attracts twitter followers to the liverpoolfc.tv site itself. Sharing content that is synonymous with a club’s brand like this is key because it adds to the clubs overall digital narrative.
A less successful model can be seen at AC Milan. Searching for AC Milan video content will direct you to a YouTube page - a YouTube page that is not significantly different to the tens of millions of other channels that exist elsewhere on the site. The YouTube page will also encourage users to start browsing videos that have nothing to do with the club by listing thumbnails from foreign channels. For a highly recognisable brand such as AC Milan that attracts followers globally, it would seem its online video offering falls short of its reputation and clear identity.
This contradiction is why the StreamMP platform has evolved with a focus on brand cohesion and follower engagement, leading to the development of whatStreamUK call Tribal Technology; a set of features which allow Liverpool’s offering to sit directly in-line with the club’s brand and online make-up, as well as become distinctively recognisable to fans accessing video content from all over the globe. Players are fully customisable in terms of colours, fonts, design and features, allowing Liverpool to brand all elements of the video experience. In terms of the fan experience, Stream MP has also developed features enabling the user to explore and share content in the way they want to, such as the ability to capture time-specific sporting moments within the video content and share with friends and social communities.
Over 100 years ago club founders took bold decisions in establishing the colours for football clubs all over the world. These colours and patterns have been the marketing foundation for commercial incentives and merchandising that generates enormous sums of revenue whilst increasing brand awareness and broadening fan communities. Therefore it is crucial that online video platforms reinforce the clubs persona and in doing so, become more familiar with both new and life-long fans. Tribal Technology is a solution that not only preserves the club’s brand but also strengthens social communication, allowing natural fan engagement and interaction to occur.

Tags: iss063 | streaming | streamuk | football | manchester united | online video | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

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