Business Irish

Friday 20 September 2019

Eurosport planning distinct national channels to deepen European reach

Eurosport agreed to pay €1.3bn to screen the Olympic Games from 2018 to 2024 across Europe
Eurosport agreed to pay €1.3bn to screen the Olympic Games from 2018 to 2024 across Europe

Kate Holton

Eurosport plans to start life under the full ownership of Discovery Communications with a rebrand to promote a move to more distinct national channels, as it steps up its fight with the likes of Sky and Canal Plus.

Eurosport reaches 151 million homes across Europe with its main channel, but a generic European feel has not always suited viewers' preference for a channel tailored to national tastes.

Having been fully acquired by US media company Discovery, part of John Malone's sprawling media empire, in October, Eurosport now aims to build audiences using big name on-screen presenters and pundits well known in each country.

The firm said it would also adopt the so-called Rupert Murdoch "battering ram approach" to promote itself, where a broadcaster uses its best assets, or content, to attract customers and then promote other products.

"Pre-Discovery, essentially it was a pan-European model in 21 languages with largely the same content," Eurosport chief executive Peter Hutton told Reuters. "That needs to now have a nationality face with it, and to some degree have the right content for that territory."

Founded in 1989, Eurosport has built its business around programming such as tennis, motorsports, basketball, cycling and winter sports.

It has held back from buying more expensive content, such as English Premier League rights, but in June this year agreed to pay €1.3bn to screen the Olympic Games from 2018 to 2024 across Europe.

Hutton said the battle for the most expensive rights had caused problems for Eurosport in the past, but offered opportunities.

"As Sky and BT spend so much money around the football, you actually see them spending a lot less around the other sports and that's a good opportunity for us," he said.

The most immediate change will be a new logo. The Eurosport name surrounded by the stars of the European Union flag will be replaced by a logo with the E of the word Eurosport incorporating a single star.

This will be used across Eurosport's many platforms on TV and online and feature in a new marketing campaign. Antonio Ruiz, marketing vice president, said the broadcaster would look to incorporate Discovery's story-telling approach to programme-making. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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