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Digital Sportsplay: In Demand Punches Up Streaming Pay-Per-View Service

PPV.com
(Image credit: In Demand )

Pay-per-view content aggregator In Demand will look to serve fight fans online seeking to purchase DAZN’s May 7 Canelo Alvarez-Dmitry Bivol fight with its new, interactive-based PPV.com website that the company hopes will grow as more viewers look to access big events digitally. 

The site, which the Cox Communications, Charter Communications and Comcast-owned In Demand launched this past December in partnership with interactive video company Kiswe, offers online users the opportunity to purchase PPV events like Avarez-Bivol outside of the company’s traditional linear PPV offering. PPV.com has already distributed 10 to 15 sports-themed events and has another three events scheduled through the month of May, according to In Demand senior VP of programming and marketing Mark Boccardi.

In Demand will launch a PPV.com app and hopes to have deals soon for mobile platforms Apple iOS and Android, as well as deals with connected TV platforms such as Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV by the end of the year. Boccardi recently outlined In Demand’s business plan for PPV.com with Multichannel News. Here's an edited transcript of that conversation. 

Also: Fite to Distribute Floyd Mayweather PPV Exhibition Bout 

Multichannel News: How does PPV.com fit into In Demand’s overall strategy of distributing major pay-per-view events to consumers? 

Mark Boccardi: In Demand along with our owners decided to launch a direct to consumer streaming platform because the pay-per-view business has become splintered. For every event, it’s become very confusing for the customer as to where they need to go to buy it – is it on Showtime? Is it Fox Sports? Is it DAZN? Is it Fite? Is it Triller? We already have relationships with all of these programmers and we’re carrying their content already via traditional PPV, so we thought we would consolidate all forms of pay-per-view distribution under one roof. We want it to be easy to find an event without having to subscribe to a whole new service. The beauty of PPV.com is that you just buy what you want.

MCN: Are you finding that more consumers are turning to the digital platform to purchase PPV events? 

MB: Absolutely. I think what we've recognized is that in order to be successful in this distribution environment, you have to be where the customers are. Clearly what we have seen happening across the entire TV landscape is a shift to digital as an option, and pay-per-view is a big part of that. It’s really just about customer options and being where customers are going to be. Having said that, the traditional pay-per-view platform with cable, satellite and telco distributors still represent the majority of pay-per-view buys for any one event. So what we're doing is really complimentary to the core business that we've always done. Now that we're in both, we can track and see how they move with each other, but the important thing for us is to be in both places.

MCN: What are some of the bells and whistles that PPV.com offers beyond the traditional event feed? 

MB: We offer a hosted chat where we bring in industry experts to guide the discussion between consumers on different subjects throughout the event. For [Alvarez-Bivol] we’re going to offer a bilingual chat. We also have an option for viewers to post video selfies to allow them to be part of the community. What we’ve heard from fans is that they love this more communal way to watch a pay-per-view event – you’re not just sitting alone at home but instead you’re part of this larger community. 

MCN: Will you look to expand PPV.com’s lineup beyond predominately ring sports events?

MB: I think everything is on the table. One of the nice things about having this new service is that we have a lot of programmers coming to us saying, ‘I have this concert or this sporting event.’ I’m confident that we’ll be carrying content outside of boxing, wrestling and soccer events. 

PPV.com May Event Schedule 

(Dates, Events and PPV Purchase Price)

May 7 – Boxing: Canelo Alvarez vs. Dmitry Bivol ($79.99)

May 14 – Boxing: Sergey Kovalev vs. Tervel Pulev ($29.99)

May 28 – Boxing: Gervonta Davis vs. Rolando Romero ($74.99)

May 29 – Pro Wrestling: AEW: Double or Nothing Price ($39.99)

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.