Interviews with Industry Leaders: Matt Chrisp, Senior Director Analytics & Research for beIN

PAYTVIF Matt Chrisp
Matt Chrisp, Senior Director Analytics & Research for beIN, shares his views on the applications for data analytics in guiding business decisions and sports rights acquisition strategy.

The Pay-TV Innovation Forum is a global research programme for senior pay-TV and content executives, developed by NAGRA and MTM, and designed to catalyse growth and innovation across the global TV industry, at a time of tremendous change and disruption.

As part of the programme, we are publishing a series of interviews with leading TV industry executives from around the world to explore their views, perspectives and experiences of innovation. In this interview, Matt Chrisp, Senior Director Analytics & Research for beIN, shares his views on the applications for data analytics in guiding business decisions and sports rights acquisition strategy.

What role can analytics play in helping pay-TV businesses run better services?

Our research and analytics team is built around three core capabilities: consumer insight and research; advanced analytics and data science; and commercial analytics.

Our consumer insight informs major strategic decisions, such as new product or market launches and rights acquisitions. Secondly, our (still nascent) AI and data science capability helps us make incremental operational improvements, making each of the thousands of decisions taken at beIN every day 1% or 2% more efficient. One example might be predicting the performance of the hundreds of football matches we broadcast to optimise the way we schedule and allocate studio time; other applications exist in our contact centres, our marketing decisions, and in selecting the right offers to retain at-risk customers.

Thirdly, our commercial analytics capability acts as a bridge between our research and analytics team, other group functions like finance and strategy, and the wider business. This is the team that makes sure we understand the wider business objectives and design research and analytics programmes to support them. 

Collectively we are focussed on being the best partner to beIN that we can be.

How can sports TV businesses be successful when the cost of sports rights has increased dramatically in recent years?

At beIN, we’re trying to broaden the way that we define success in sports rights acquisition. Anyone can ‘win’ a given auction simply by placing an extra zero on the end of their bid. The more appropriate way to judge success in rights acquisition is by measuring the extent to which a particular right will help you achieve your business objectives.  These might be profitability, market share growth, customer retention, ARPU growth etc., and to take into account how cost effective the right is in doing that, in relation to the possible substitutes.

Analytics can help forecast the impact of a potential acquisition on driving subscriber uptake or reducing churn. In France, we “lost” the Champions League; in Spain, we “lost” La Liga. However, if you do the maths then you realize that by “winning” at the predicted winning-bid, we might have taken a significant financial hit throughout that cycle.  With data, we can make better decisions and, in some cases, we can choose not to ‘win’.

What role can AI play in helping your transform your business and stay competitive in the future?

Sports broadcasters often fall victim to relying too heavily on the power of their rights and of the live-window, which leaves them susceptible to the threat of another broadcaster acquiring those rights and with it their market position.  We make five-year plans based on three-year rights cycles, where any other broadcaster can bid away either your rights or your profit, which means there is always a significant degree of uncertainty in our plans.

We can mitigate this somewhat by building trust in the beIN brand as a curator of high quality content, live and non-live, rather than just a channel for subscribers to watch one or two marquee rights. AI has a key role to play here. It can help us provide each subscriber segment, perhaps even each subscriber, with an individually curated channel of content based on their behaviour and consumption habits. If we can use AI and Machine Learning to provide a customer experience that is worth more to our subscribers than just access to specific rights, we will generate much greater customer loyalty, which in turn will give us far greater security as a business.

Find out more about the Pay-TV Innovation Forum and download its special report on The Global Market for Premium Sports OTT Services.