February 3 – Spanish giant FC Barcelona is revamping its digital platforms which it sees as an under-exploited revenue stream. A new digital plan will see the launch of an OTT service and wider integration of digital technologies from e-commerce to ticket sales and integration with its new global membership programme ‘Culers’.
Barca claims more than 1.4 billion digital interactions in 2019 and it is this enormous base that has sparked the digital rethink that the club describes as “a paradigm shift in terms of its digital strategy, to get closer to fans, get to know them better and offer them new products and services that are adapted to their needs.”
The club says its digital strategy will have three core areas, “attracting global audiences, entertainment and data, and the creation of an ecosystem of Barça digital products.”
The club is targeting eSports and further social media reach to grow its global audience – using Barca eSports to attract younger followers.
The second core area is digital content exploitation and will see newly named streaming channel Barça TV+ broadcast all owned video content, including on-demand highlights from first-team matches, player interviews and archive footage. Also included will be live streams from first-team press conferences, B team fixtures, and women’s team home games, as well as non-live content from the club’s basketball and roller hockey teams.
The existing Barça Studios production house will produce and curate the content, some of which will also be syndicated to other media.
The third core area is the creation of digital products and services, including the club’s OTT service, the Culers membership programme, as well as e-commerce and new digital ticket sales solutions. The new Espai Barça project will also see a major upgrade of the digital experience in the stadium.
Josep Maria Bartomeu, president of FC Barcelona, said: “We can now use digital technology to find out who our fans are and what they want. That is why we are developing in-house platforms that can use data analysis methods to offer our fans a wide range of content, products and services that are adapted to their needs.
“This new model involves a new evolution in terms of our revenue streams. The new income from the digital business will allow us to continue with our ownership structure, which is in the hands of our 140,000 members.”
Dídac Lee, board member and head of the FC Barcelona Digital Area, emphasised that the digital challenge took Barcelona beyond the traditional football area into competition with other businesses.
“We are witnessing a revolution among consumers and their consumption patterns, especially with regard to younger generations. We are competing with new and unexpected competitors outside of stadiums – we are competing on mobile, television and computer screens for the attention. Our competitors are now also major corporations and content platforms. With this in mind, if we can seize the opportunity, we will capture a much bigger piece of the market, which will also present new business opportunities that didn’t exist before.”
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