Lorenz and Kojic's online rights trading platform set to launch
Content Arena, a new online service for media rights trading launched by Erik Lorenz and Sascha Kojic, two leading figures in the sports media rights industry, will soon go live, offering a “one-stop marketplace” for sellers and buyers.
The platform will launch in time for this month’s Sportel trade fair in Monaco and, in addition to facilitating rights deals, offers services including the automated creation of legal documents, rights portfolio management, secure payment processes and technical content distribution.
The Singapore-based company is the brainchild of Lorenz, formerly of Sportradar and ex-manager of new business and international affairs at the DFL, and Kojic, who now has his own SN1 Consulting business after previously working for Discovery Communications and agencies MP & Silva and the Sportsman Media Group.
In addition to that duo, Content Arena has been founded in collaboration with Hogmore Media, a company that organises, produces coverage of and distributes rights to soccer friendlies and training camps.
The service takes a percentage commission from the rights seller of the value of any deal facilitated on Content Arena, but does not charge the buyer.
Kojic said today: “Our key focus is to make rights trading as efficient, convenient and transparent as possible for all parties by creating a one-stop marketplace for the industry. We clearly see ourselves as a technology enabled service provider for all market players – rights holders, buyers and agencies alike.”
Lorenz added: “Driven by new technological developments as well as emerging sports and markets, the media rights landscape is becoming more and more fragmented with a continuously growing amount of content on the one hand, and a growing number of distributors on the other. Our goal is to provide easy access to content and offer better market visibility, especially for second-tier rights.”
Content Arena acquired and then developed the platform used by Hogmore Media for its clients to book matches, and the service has been tested with broadcasters in a beta phase since July.
Chiefly thanks to the tie-up with Hogmore Media, rights to over 300 soccer matches - including Uefa Champions League and Europa League qualifiers, international friendlies and under-21 European Championships qualifiers – have been traded on Content Arena in the last three months.
However, Content Arena is aimed at rights-holders in all sports and not specifically soccer, according to Kojic, who has invested in the venture and is now leading negotiations with other potential stakeholders.
He told Sportcal: “It might look a bit skewed towards football at the beginning, but the intention is to be an open rights trading platform. On one hand for the sellers (the rights-holders) to get access to the market, and for buyers to get access to rights.”
Leading sports marketing agencies could look to sell rights in certain territories through Content Arena or also ancillary rights, Kojic said.
He continued: “There are so many new entrants in terms of OTT platforms and websites all over the world, notably in Asia, who don’t have access to this traditional sports rights market. We want to connect them but also the traditional trading rights platforms.”
The rights can be sold on Content Arena using various mechanisms such as fixed pricing or bidding auctions and it “caters for all relevant territorial, exclusivity and technological rights specifications.”
The launch of Content Arena evokes memories of SportsMediaRights.com, the short-lived online rights trading venture set up by Media Content, the UK sports media advisory company that was wound up in 2002.
Kojic describes that offering as “the right idea at the wrong time” and points to the proliferation of over-the-top players worldwide as evidence that such a tool is now necessary.
He observed: “If you take a look at how many new buyers are popping up now and new OTT platforms launching, which will only continue, then it’s more important than ever to offer access to rights and markets while automising and simplifying things.”
As premium rights-holders, armed with sizeable in-house legal teams and slick rights sales operations, may not have a need for the new service (at least for sales of their main packages), Content Arena is targeting smaller rights-holders looking to speed up the sales process.
Kojic noted: “Let’s say you are a smaller or medium-sized rights holder. You have to pay a lawyer, a consultant or get access to the market somehow or you have to go to Sportel to make contacts, then chase up for payment all the people who sent back contracts. When you’re a smaller rights-holder dealing with a big media company then it takes ages because you are not prioritised.”
He admits that organisations such as the Premier League are not likely to offer their live rights through the platform, but could look to offer digital clips, while the system can be customised to integrate any rights-holder’s strict legal contract framework.