Ekstraklasa SA, the Polish top tier football league, has chosen leading global media services company Red Bee Media as its technology partner to jointly develop the Ekstraklasa.TV streaming platform. The evolution of Ekstraklasa.TV will commence this season and the changes will primarily relate to greater interactivity and personalisation, further improvement of the user experience, and implementing an advertising model. Future updates are intended to include the possibility to expand the platform with additional sports content (not only football-related) and integration of Ekstraklasa.TV with cable networks.
Marcin Animucki, president of the management board at Ekstraklasa SA, comments: “Media consumption, particularly of video content including sports, is rapidly changing. The extent to which the pandemic affected social life also expedited this trend. So, we’re observing the growing market share of streaming platforms, a deepening of the multi-screen phenomenon, and a concurrent increase in popularity of short but exciting videos, especially among the youth. We are monitoring these changes and plan to take our OTT platform to the next level, providing the fans with Ekstraklasa.TV v.2.0 with new functionalities, and more brief, attractive and information-rich video formats.”
He continues: “The experience, especially from the last year, has shown that foreign fans are eager to watch our league, so this is yet another reason for us to continue developing and providing the viewers with ever-more interesting content, better tailored to their individual needs. Content that is both football-related, covering Ekstraklasa and in the future also matches of Fortuna 1 Liga or the competition within the Polish top level women’s football league, Ekstraliga, as well as other games or sports. We’ve already been after initial talks with the other leagues and this will be our focus over the next dozen or so months. Ekstraklasa.TV, developed in collaboration with Red Bee, will most certainly become a completely new visual and user experience.”
Red Bee is one of approximately 30 foreign and domestic companies that submitted their bids within a multi-stage tender for the development of Ekstraklasa.TV, organized by Ekstraklasa. Red Bee is a leading global media services company and a trusted partner to some of the world’s strongest media brands and broadcasters, as well as innovative new businesses and content owners. Originally a part of the BBC and now fully owned by Ericsson, Red Bee has numerous innovative projects in its portfolio and is entirely familiar with market and technology trends.
Viewers will be able to experience the first results of the cooperation between Red Bee and Ekstraklasa before the 2021/22 season, with Ekstraklasa.TV to be available in Polish via www and mobile apps on iOS and Android. Furthermore, with the help of Red Bee, Ekstraklasa.TV will also be available on multiple smart TV platforms, starting with LG, Apple, Android and eventually Samsung.
Steve Nylund, CEO Red Bee Media, commented: “We are happy to be a part of the evolution of Ekstraklasa.TV and we look forward to contributing to its development, streaming top quality European football to international and Polish audiences through our OTT platform. We can see a clear growth in direct-to-consumer propositions like this, where brands such as Ekstraklasa are making the most of the opportunity to connect with their fans, and monetiwe their content rights.”
The Ekstraklasa.TV website was launched in the summer of 2019, and now has approximately 200,000 registered users worldwide. After purchasing a subscription or single-match pay-per-view access, fans abroad (except for countries covered by exclusive broadcasting licences) can watch all PKO Bank Polski Ekstraklasa games live. In addition, football enthusiasts gain access to a lot of extra video content, such as highlights or most interesting in-game events. Moreover, Ekstraklasa fans in Poland have free access to the website with the highlights from all games and other video materials, except for live broadcast.