Week 223 (20 - 26 January 2018)
As the dynamic landscape of live sport consumption continues to shift towards over-the-top platforms, social networking powerhouse Facebook has turned to experienced Eurosport CEO Peter Hutton to lead its ascent on an increasingly appealing market.
Facebook’s broadcasting vision is clear; they just need a driving force to help them achieve it. Enter Peter Hutton. Once the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang have come to an end, Hutton will become the spearhead figure for Facebook’s push in the sports streaming world.
After recently outlining plans to obtain its own digital rights and viewing platform for live sports, and with existing platforms such as “Live” and “Watch” already active, Facebook has shown it is serious about establishing itself in the sports streaming market.
Hutton’s time at Eurosport was a sign of his enthusiasm for innovative digital broadcasting, with recent quotes in an interview with marketing magazine The Drum highlighting his willingness to tear up the broadcasting rule book. Hutton stated that broadcasters simply “can't ignore [Facebook and Twitter], instead you need to make them part of your story”.
He is convinced that digital and social platforms are the future for live sport. He explained the importance of being adaptable and innovative in the sports broadcasting market, using adolescents as an example: “14-year-olds spend their lives permanently on Snap, some get their sports from Snap, it is a reality, we have to be aware of this, they are sports fans and they are obsessive with the news. So we have to create the best possible unique content. It is a great way of making the story complete.”
With Hutton at the helm, Facebook’s challenge to more traditional broadcasting giants, such as Sky and BT, will be taken more seriously than ever before. By creating new and innovative platforms that will reinvent the fan viewing experience, Facebook will push current dominant forces to adapt their content to keep pace.
Hutton’s credentials are unquestionable. Only recently, he led Eurosport in its successful bid to secure the rights to four Olympic Games from 2018 to 2024. He is striving to deliver the first fully digital Olympic Games ever that can be viewed on as many platforms as possible.
Hutton is highly respected in the sports broadcasting industry and is seen by many as a trailblazer for live sports viewing. Jim Dowling, Managing Director of Cake, the Havas network’s UK-based sport and entertainment agency, dubbed Hutton a “veteran deal maker from the world of linear broadcast rights”. He added: “He will be forever associated with Discovery Eurosport's Olympic deal, which at a stroke rendered Eurosport relevant after decades of being a marginal player.”
It is an exciting and unprecedented time for the sports broadcasting industry and, as Facebook looks to get a slice of the highly sought-after pie, Hutton will be a central figure in drawing audiences to what is not much more than a social networking site. Hutton has the drive, experience and creative instinct to help change the face of sports broadcasting forever. Watch this space!
Photo: Wikimedia Commons