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MoffettNathanson: OTT Players Could Encroach on TV’s Live Sports

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NEW YORK—OTT services and platforms are approaching the same level of reach of broadcast and cable TV networks, and that could put them in a position to vie for major sports league rights, according to a new report from MoffettNathanson.

MoffettNathanson, looking at Nielsen data and other metrics, says that Netflix has a reach of 55% of U.S. TV households. By comparison, ABC has a reach of 58%, Fox 58%, NBC 60% and CBS 60%. Other major streamers—Amazon, Roku, Disney+, Pluto TV and Tubi—are lower, but on par with many linear cable services.

MoffettNathanson posits that in three years many premium streamers will be ahead of cable networks and closer to broadcast networks, which would allow them to effectively compete for high-priced programming, like sports.

"While we still believe that the NFL will remain a core broadcast product in the existing bundle, distribution of other sports rights, which we have previously taken for granted, could change meaningfully over the next set of renewals. These shifts could occur as media companies and leagues/teams are forced to react to declining viewership among younger audiences and the acceleration of vertically-owned network streaming services like ESPN+, HBO Max, Peacock and Paramount+," the report reads.

Highlighting the age factor, MoffettNathanson that 65% of all cable network viewers are now over the age of 50.

The shift in the market is already beginning, with MoffettNathanson pointing to recent announcements that NBCSN will be shut down and the WWE shuttering is SVOD service and shifting to Peacock.

For more information, download MoffettNathanson's full report.