Former Palace Owner’s Plans For “Premier League Netflix” Would Be A Dream Come True

1 Posted by - February 8, 2019 - News

Former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan isn’t always seen as a man of the people but recently, his proposals for the Premier League to become the “Netflix of football” have got a lot of people sitting up and taking notice. 

You don’t need me to tell you that as things stand, viewers are being charged through the nose to watch the Premier League each and every month. With the likes of Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon Prime all getting in on the act, your average fan now needs a number of different subscriptions at a silly cost to watch every game deemed important enough to be broadcast on these shores and even then, the 3pm fixture blackout stops millions from watching many of the matches which interest them. 

Of course, in the US and Asia the rights to broadcast games are vastly different but Jordan’s idea centres around the league themselves becoming masters of their own destiny and taking the Premier League product in-house. Should they do so, charging a fee of £8 a month to subscribers and offering the chance to watch each and every kick legally, the money they’d rake in would likely increase further still. 

As things stand, millions upon millions of fans refuse to pay the extortionate prices charged by Sky Sports on principle, preferring instead to go down the far less reliable route of streaming the games that interest them but were an all-inclusive service to arrive for a price similar to that of the smash-hit streaming platform Netflix, I have no doubt that subscribers would flock there in their droves. 

The chances of such a shift ever taking place are slim to none given the cosy relationship Premier League bosses have with the big-wigs at TV companies across the planet but if we’re honest, the potential of a move to an all-inclusive global streaming platform is gigantic. 

Each game is already filmed and commentated on in full, meaning the change would require a tiny financial hit Premier League. Is it ever likely to come to fruition? Unlikely. That doesn’t mean we as the direct consumers of the product can’t dream. 

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  • Rob February 8, 2019 - 8:11 am Reply

    Just removing the 3pm blackout of televised matches would be a vast difference.

  • Gordon February 8, 2019 - 8:58 am Reply

    Competition between suppliers is usually held up as a force which works in favour of the consumer, but it doesn’t seem to work where live football on TV is concerned. Where’s the consumer choice? Atm it’s all about buying big packages – take it or leave it. These include a whole load of non-EPL & non-football padding and yet there are still EPL matches the consumer may want to see which aren’t screened. If all EPL matches are filmed with commentary then it should be possible to cut out all the padding and offer consumers the ability to watch any match live on a pay per view basis or by quota (a number of matches per season) irrespective of who is broadcasting it. But this sort of consumer choice isn’t available and currently neither the EPL nor the broadcasters seem remotely interested in offering it so personally I’d welcome any initiative that might jolt them into looking at the issue from a different angle.

  • Mike Ward February 8, 2019 - 10:13 am Reply

    As usual this is more complex than it first seems.
    I believe the £8 figure is an over simplification and just looks at a rough guess of how many subscribers the premier league might get to such an offering. Compare that with how much revenue they currently take and a simple calculation gives you a nice easy number. I doubt it takes into account the cost of setting up such an infrastructure. (I can’t bring myself to read a Simon Jordan article. Sorry).

    Technically it is absolutely possible but consider that Netflix itself charges (roughly) £8 a month with over 139 million subs, spends roughly $8 billion a year in programming and is still losing a truck load of money.
    The matches in the UK are currently filmed by Sky and BT as part of their obligation to produce the games for their contract.
    If the Premier League were to show the games on their own Netflix style portal then they would have to also either produce the games themselves or pay someone else to do it. That cost would run into the tens of millions annually (depending on how well they wanted to produce the games).

    All of that said, I do think this is the way this will ultimately go. The Premier League already has Premier League Productions which produces content for the international feed. It’s pretty low grade production and just distributes the match footage with some supplementary programming. If you don’t like Sky or BT trust me when I say you would get quickly fed up watching the current offering from Premier League Productions. But it could be ramped up with more investment from the Premier League.
    And of course if things did move this way there would be plenty of production people and pundits who used to work at Sky and BT who would be looking or work.

    Anyone who pays Sky for their channels knows the frustration of being abroad when a game you want to watch is on and you can’t watch it – that isn’t Sky’s fault but this problem would be resolved if you had a personal/individual subscription that you effectively took with you.

    An alternative option (not sure if would ever happen unless the Premier League thought they could make more money from doing it) would be that the Premier League could remove the exclusivity aspect. So all carriers, BBC, BT, Sky, Amazon etc etc could all pay a fee (the same fee) to show the games. It would then be up to them to do the best production and offer to viewers so every viewer could make their own choice about which provider offered them the best value.
    That is very unlikely to happen but it would better serve the viewing public.

    Ok I really need to get on with some work…

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