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Real Madrid embraces Facebook Live

News, 27 October 2016

MADRID: The success claimed by one of the world's biggest football clubs since shifting its TV content onto Facebook Live not only highlights the way in which social offers greater reach than traditional channels but also the threat that OTT is set to pose to those same channels.

Around six months ago, Real Madrid partnered with Grabyo, a cloud-based video platform, as it sought to move Real Madrid TV, the club's own channel, beyond the confines of linear TV.

Since then, The Drum reported, the club's broadcast channel has gone live on Facebook 128 times, generating 110m video views and having its content – which includes behind the scenes footage, news and pre-and post-game programming – appear in social feeds more than one billion times.

"These results show us that the demand for professionally produced, exclusive, behind-the-scenes content for football clubs has not diminished. It's just that the way we want to consume it has changed," explained Gareth Capon, chief executive of Grabyo.

"One of the key challenges for the clubs has been that these linear TV channels were rarely "live", offering a range of on-demand content packaged as TV shows throughout the day," he told The Drum.

"The [club] channels also lacked the most valuable content for the fans – live games from the Premier League, Serie A or the UEFA Champions League," he added. "More importantly, football fans are now increasingly spending their time on social platforms."

That in itself is reason enough to move away from traditional linear TV, but there are added benefits to be gained from the data gathered, which Capon outlined.

"The Real Madrid TV project shows there is considerable reach which will open up fascinating opportunities for advertising and sponsorship – when you consider the targeting and the localisation of advertising in regional markets that will be possible on Facebook it becomes very interesting indeed."

Capon felt – Twitter's acquisition of limited NFL broadcasting rights notwithstanding – that TV networks are currently better placed to show live games.

"But as OTT becomes the dominant platform for TV distribution then the likelihood of digital businesses investing directly in rights will increase – creating greater competition for TV networks and broadcasters."

Data sourced from The Drum; additional content by Warc staff