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Streaming: A Good Bet for Bookmakers

17 January 2008

Some European bookmakers have begun streaming live sporting events on their Web sites by using a service called watchandbet.tv. The events are ones that punters typically can't catch on terrestrial TV, and they've been having positive effects on turnover and customer acquisition.

In 2008 watchandbet.tv will stream over 3,000 live sporting events to bookmaker clients. Covered events include Italian Serie A football, the ATP Master Series and the Australian Open, which is going on at the moment.

"You'll be able to watch maybe one Australian Open match on terrestrial TV, but we're streaming all six show courts concurrently, so you can watch any one of six games -- over 240 games over the course of the tournament," said Ross MacEacharn, commercial director of Perform Group, which operates the watchanbet.tv service.

Perform Group is the result of a September 2007 merger between British companies Premium TV and Inform Group. Inform Group was a specialist in acquiring broadcast rights for sporting events and Premium TV was a specialist in streaming technology. Inform Group was already using Premium TV's services prior to the merger, so essentially the deal has brought all operations under the same umbrella.

Watchandbet.tv's three global partners -- Betfair, Bet365 and William Hill -- stream the service to their user bases across all the markets in which they operate. In-play markets are the chief beneficiaries.

"If you're William Hill, and you've got Federer versus Nadal streamed onto your site, and it isn't available elsewhere, it gives you a good edge over your competitors," explained MacEacharn.

Events are streamed through a flash player, and there is zero latency against the live TV pictures. In fact, MacEacharn says the stream is often a second ahead of the live TV pictures.

How the system is integrated depends to a large degree upon the preference of the bookmaker. Bet365 allows customers to view the stream either as a stand-alone player or through an integrated flash player built right into their in-play betting console. William Hill on the other hand has separate betting and streaming consoles.

Another variable is how bookmakers make the stream available to viewers. The bookmaker could make it available for customers who have username and password credentials or it could require customers to place a bet before viewing. If it waned to, the bookmaker could even make the event free to anyone.

The United Kingdom is the main market for watchandbet.tv, but there are some interesting regional spikes. For example, when an Inter Milan versus Milan match was streamed, the number of Swedish viewers was only slightly below the number of U.K. viewers. The reason: Watchandbet.tv streams were the only place Swedish football fans could watch their hero, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who plays for Inter Milan.

MacEacharn suggests bookmakers can use creative marketing in conjunction with the service to bolster turnover and customer acquisitions. In the case of Inter Milan versus Milan, an e-mail to Swedish customers reminding them to tune in to the game would be quite well placed.

Perform Group recently joined forces with Matchroom Sport to fund and create Championship League Snooker, which will be shown exclusively on watchandbet.tv. "Any bookmaker who has a U.K. or Chinese audience loves snooker because it's quite a high-turnover event," said MacEacharn. "We try to schedule all the events so they're outside of times when there's a lot of other sport going on. We're helping the bookmakers fill the gaps. We won't show them on nights when there's Champions League Football for example.

"It's just another live betting opportunity that they wouldn't otherwise have."

Streaming: A Good Bet for Bookmakers is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Bradley Vallerius

Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com
Bradley Vallerius
Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com