Having previously only licensed third-party publishers to broadcast its long list of live, online sports video rights on a white label basis, Perform is now playing a different ball game: building its own site. The rights holder today launches its first B2C site, Omnisport.tv, a part paid-for sports VOD portal which Perform claims will show more than 4,500 live events a year. Live games are shown on a pay-per-view basis at $5.99 (£4.21), but registered members can watch highlights for free (if they can stand the pre-roll ads) from various national soccer leagues, darts, snooker, tennis, basketball and cricket. Today’s launch comes weeks after Perform signed a five-year deal with broadcaster Matchroom Sports, which films snooker and darts events.
But there’s no English Premier League action to be seen — Perform already shows EPL highlights via its e-player widget, which utilises Virgin Media’s online footy rights and is watched by five million people a month on sites from ITV.com to Dailymail.co.uk. There’s still UEFA Cup and World Cup qualifiers — the TV rights for which are currently split between ITV (LSE: ITV) and Sky. But Perform is keen to keep its distributor role alive: the company says it will make Omnisport available “as a co-branded product for major media groups who will help fund local language version”, in return for a revenue-sharing agreement.
So a good breadth of world sports action, but $5.99 for each game? That seems steep when compared to BSkyB’s Sky Player is currently charging £22 per month for Sky Sport One or Sky Sports Two, plus Sky Sports Three thrown in. Perform might want to focus on the free, ad-funded side of the side until it can leverage the price down somewhat with its sports governing body partners.