The Turner Broadcasting group is the latest industry player to consider the release of a bespoke streaming service, this time a sports app which will be built around its US English language Uefa Champions League coverage.
In 2018, the company is looking to monetise its $60m investment in the Champions League rights by showing a mere 20% of its matches on its linear TV channels. As a result, the bulk of its coverage will be locked behind a still-to-launch sports streaming service, according to the New York Times.
Four matches a week will be broadcast on TV during the group stages of the tournament. A further 280 fixtures will be available only on the streaming service throughout the tournament. Even cable subscribers will have to upgrade to access.
David Levy, the president of Turner, said: “We went into this specifically thinking about an OTT product, there was just kind of an overall company strategy to innovate beyond the traditional television ecosystem.”
The move may telegraph ambitions from Turner, that owns Cartoon Network, TNT, TBS and CNN, to expand into new digital platforms to help its content reach more people, as the wider TV industry appears to be partitioning.
ESPN is among the latest broadcasters and media giants looking to service cable cutters with an exclusive streaming services, a fragmented market that could make the cumbersome cable package appear desirable again.
IT comes as ESPN-owner Disney also pulled its catalogue from Netflix, to eventually run its content on a first party service.