two younf boys cheer as they watch the superbowl

How streaming platforms can capitalize on the Super Bowl’s viewership

This year’s Super Bowl has been reported as the third most-watched program of all time, representing one of the biggest audiences in the past six years with 113 million viewers, and the halftime show attracting an average of 119 million viewers, according to preliminary figures from Nielsen. But perhaps the most interesting is that Super Bowl LVII was the most streamed Super Bowl in history with the 2023 game bringing in an average of 7 million people watching via internet-based services – an increase of 18% from the previous year.

These figures are unsurprising given the increased interest in sports across the world, and of course, the hotly anticipated halftime show, which drew in fans that may not have otherwise watched the game. But it is indicative of a much larger trend towards streaming. Nielsen, the data measurement firm, has been tracking the growth of streaming across multiple platforms and audiences, and reported that streaming captured 35% of total TV time in August 2022, capping six consecutive months of viewership highs, and for US sports specifically, Nielsen TV viewership data shows that the first three ‘Thursday Night Football’ (TNF) games on Amazon Prime Video in 2022 attracted significantly more viewers (13 million, 11 million and 11.7 million, respectively) than each of the seven Thursday games from last year that aired only on the NFL Network.

With 80% of sports fans, 76% of NFL fans, and 89% of football/soccer fans having regularly watched sports on any streaming or online channel last year, we can expect to see streaming continue to grow. So, how can streaming platforms capitalize on this growth?

It’s all in the way we pay…

It’s estimated that the live sports streaming segment itself will be worth $87.3m by 2028, but content doesn’t always result in conversion on the buy-side for consumers. Streaming platforms can show the biggest games in the world but will not see an impact on the bottom line if customers cannot pay for their services easily.

If platforms want to retain and attract customers, and grow into new and emerging markets, they must be aware of local payment preferences, and cater to them. For platforms that are trying to capture an audience in China, Alipay and WeChat Pay reign supreme; and in Brazil, locals might prefer Boleto Bancario. Perhaps there are consumers that find paying via cryptocurrency or QR code to be the most frictionless checkout experience.

For consumers, flexibility in payments is more important than ever, but for merchants, this can lead to a costly and time intensive payments strategy with engineers working around the clock to deploy and manage various payment methods.

Moreover, as streaming platforms expand and cater to new global audiences, they must be aware of local data and privacy regulations in each market, creating complications for those platforms without an orchestration layer to optimize payments and manage local compliance.

So, what’s the tactical play for streaming platforms that want to boost their bottom line?

How payment orchestration can help streaming platforms to capture a global audience

One solution for all the above is to use a cloud-native payment orchestration platform (POP), which facilitates payment routing and processing between multiple payment providers and unifies all transaction components under a single control layer, enabling the end-to-end management and automation of payments processing. A POP allows merchants to streamline and manage all their payment methods, services, and transactions in one place while dispensing with the time-consuming and costly coding and integration work involved in onboarding and supporting different payment methods.

A POP also helps to keep merchants in compliance with local regulations governing the use and storage of citizen data by processing and storing data at the Edge. A local edge keeps merchant and customer data in the region or country deployed, helping merchants meet data privacy protection laws while offering varying localized payment options to a specific region – making cross-border payment optionality easy.

Another advantage of a POP is that it allows merchants to work with various payment providers and thus avoid being locked into proprietary APIs or a single ecosystem. The result? More payment options at checkout, which helps optimize customer conversion and increase sales. And at a macro level, a POP acts as the foundation for all current and future cross-border payments, making it easier for merchants to enter new, regional markets and scale for international e-commerce success.

Case study: How ELEVEN Sports is using payment orchestration to aid international expansion

One streaming company that sees the value in POPs is ELEVEN, a rapidly growing broadcaster of live sports events. The 24/7 service generates tens of millions of views per month from users from over 200 countries and territories through a range of packages from free to periodic subscriptions.

ELEVEN Sports chose a cloud-native POP from Gr4vy to accommodate local customers’ preferred payment methods on its flagship platform. The company selected Gr4vy because of the platform’s advanced features and benefits, and its ability to provide quick access to multiple payment methods and providers such as PayPal with no additional coding required. By enlisting Gr4vy’s payment expertise and industry knowledge, ELEVEN Sports was able to test different payment methods in different markets in just a few clicks. The insights from these assessments have enabled ELEVEN Sports to achieve new user acquisition and global country coverage without hiring or reassigning software developers.

While accommodating different consumer payment preferences can significantly enhance the growth prospects for a streaming service provider, they also bring the burden of integration and long-term management. Ultimately, as interest continues to rise in streaming various sports in various leagues across the world, platforms will need to future-proof their payments strategy to grow commercially.

If you’re a merchant looking to grow internationally and you’re interested in learning more about payment orchestration, download our eGuide, ‘IaaS vs. SaaS: An e-commerce merchant’s guide to payment orchestration’, to discover which platform is best for your needs – including building a payment orchestration layer in-house.