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How TOD aims to disrupt MENA’s sports streaming market

The OTT platform delivers a vast lineup of exclusive sports content.

How TOD aims to disrupt MENA’s sports streaming market
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

With widespread lockdowns during COVID-19, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region saw a significant rise in online and on-demand video consumption, creating a favorable environment for the growth of new and established OTT platforms.

Adding to it, digital technology, smart devices, and video content consumption are all rapidly developing in the region.

“To stand out, an OTT should be a combination of an excellent content library that includes both sports and entertainment, as well as offer viewers an intuitive user experience,” James Walmsley, Director – Technology, Analytics & Products, TOD. 

Looking to use sports as a differentiator to fight off competition, and engage fans in a more personalized way by capturing data, TOD delivers a vast lineup of sports content in the region, with interactive features like live stats and instant access to highlights and replay.

“If the viewers miss kick-off they can even watch from start or catch up later with key match events compiled into short-form videos,” adds Walmsley. 

TOD developed multi-user profiles that give users control over the viewing of information that is pin-protected, including children’s safe viewing. 

Walmsley says the technology is scalable as the platform aims to create a tailored end-to-end experience for its viewers. “We’ve got a team of data architects and engineers, who have been critical in bringing real-time insights to content exploration,” he says. 

FORECASTING DEMAND 

By their very nature, video platforms generate a huge amount of data and TOD centralizes all the user-generated data through a cloud-based data lake. 

Walmsley adds that this helps TOD to leverage machine learning to assist its marketing team with targeting its retention team with churn prediction modeling, and content team with catalog personalization. “The end result is an improvement in overall business efficiency and a great experience for our users.”

These algorithms, he says, will allow the platform to better serve its expanding subscriber base.

Currently, TOD offers two subscription tiers: TOD Theatre allows viewers access to its entertainment programming, and TOD Total delivers live and recorded sports in addition to entertainment content.

“A larger subscription fee is required for the sports comprehensive package, but TOD charges differently for these two packages in GCC and non-GCC regions,” says Walmsley, adding that during a special tournament like the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 or the Afcons in 2023, TOD will offer a limited-time package.

Customers who simply want to watch that particular event can purchase the tournament ticket from TOD.

“We exclusively stream live and recorded sports like the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, LaLiga, Ligue 1 the NBA, and every Grand Slam tennis tournament among others,” Walmsley says. 

Regional games are also available for streaming on the OTT platform, including the DP World Tour Championship (Golf), the MotoGP Grand Prix of Qatar, and the NBA Abu Dhabi Games. 

The platform also streams women’s sports, including the Women’s Champions League, Women’s FA Cup Final, and Women’s UEFA Under-19 and Under-20 Championships.

Piracy poses a direct threat to SVOD platforms across the globe and TOD, Walmsley says, has invested in fighting piracy. “We are now able to monitor and identify rogue traffic in real-time through studio-grade watermarking and fingerprinting.” 

“TOD is leveraging machine learning to help identify potential attacks and feed our operational and legal team the information they need to take down online piracy attempts,” he adds.

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