Facebook is making a splash in the broadcasting space and they’ve reportedly snapped up the exclusive rights to broadcast La Liga in India.
If these reports are true, Facebook will replace the Sony Pictures Networks India media group as the home of La Liga in India after the company was not prepared to match the tech giant’s raised offer. The fees for the rights were not disclosed.
With cost of data being dirt cheap in India this move makes sense and the soccer fan base in India will not have too much of a problem viewing the league from the most popular social media site on earth.
Going all in…
In Asia, Facebook has already started acquiring rights and they have exclusive broadcasting rights for the EPL from 2019-2022 in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
This is not the only statement of intent Facebook had signalled thus far. They are also reportedly courting Cristiano Ronaldo with a $10 million offer for a reality show so it’s clear they have set their sights on sport for now.
Facebook also reportedly hired Eurosport chief executive Peter Hutton as head of their live sport programming division.
For the rights to broadcast in Asia, apparently Facebook ended up paying in the region of $265 million. They are reported to have outbid other broadcasting giants such BeIn Sports and Fox Sports Asia and this should scare traditional broadcasters the world over.
What might this mean for Africa?
To many Zimbabweans, the internet = Facebook/Whatsapp. A similar reality is faced by many other Africans so Facebook will probably be considering making a strong push for eyeballs on the continent since there are many users already on these platforms.
The problem for broadcasters such as Multichoice and Kwese is that Facebook has much more money to throw than its competitor so there’s a huge conundrum.
Right now, there are a lot of technical details to get around.
The rights are under lock and key for now
First, the rights to the English Premier League are bagged up by SuperSport (DStv) for the foreseeable future. They will be the exclusive broadcaster for the most popular league from 2019 until 2022 in sub-Saharan Africa.
Secondly, I don’t think the African market is ready to consume an entire season of football on the internet. The costs of data and the internet penetration rates on our continent are two factors that will discourage Facebook from competing for rights, in the short term.
Who knows what the future holds?
By 2022 however cost of data and the internet penetration rates on the African continent might be more appealing to Facebook and they may make their move with an eye on the rights after this period.