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Rugby League PRO14 Goes OTT With StreamAMG
Guinness PRO14's new OTT service launches after test streaming to social media in selected territories

UK-based rugby tournament Guinness PRO14 has launched a subscription OTT platform. It follows test of the audience for streaming games on social media to selected territories this season.

The service, www.pro14.tv, is based on StreamAMG’s MediaPlatform video management platform and takes feeds produced by the sport’s UK and Ireland rights holder Premier Sports.

Content is mixed at each game venue and sent via satellite to Premier Sports' HQ. From there StreamAMG's embedded Ooyala hardware produced the transcodes (encoded in HLS at 4000Kbps HD 1080p) and delivers directly to the Akamai CDN for onward delivery to a portal designed and built by StreamAMG. InCrowd Sports delivers the complimentary app.

StreamAMG's proprietary transaction platform, CloudPay, takes care of end-user payments and subscription management.

The service is available as pay-per-view passes for individual games (priced €3.99) and 72-hour weekend passes (€6.99) with monthly and seasonal options to be offered by start of the 2019/20 season. In addition to live, chargeable match coverage, the service will offer free registration-led access to a library of clips, highlights, full-match replays and a range of exclusive content.

Dermot Rigley, Commercial Director of PRO14 Rugby, said: "Launching our own OTT video platform to reach fans around the world was a logical next step for us as we experience more demand for the Guinness PRO14 than ever before. To be the first major rugby union tournament to launch an OTT service is in keeping with our commitment to innovation and a commitment to embrace new technologies."

Pay TV channel Premier Sports wrestled the rights to broadcast all the leagues 152 matches for three seasons from 2018/19, beating out the BBC and Sky Sports at a reported cost of £30 million ($38 million). Twenty-one matches (one per round) have also been shown domestically on the company's free-to-air sister channel, FreeSports. The broadcast deal includes rights to air in Ireland and South Africa.

The league will look to sell the OTT service outside of those territories.

StreamAMG was founded in London in 2001 and acquired by the press agency PA Group in 2017. Its sports division is based in MediaCityUK, Salford, with technical development and R&D carried out by a subsidiary in Malta. 

The Guinness PRO14 Championship is made up of 14 clubs—four Irish, four Welsh, two Scottish, two Italian, and two South African teams—that compete in two conferences. Since 2010-11 each season has seen aggregate attendances top 1 million, with audiences of millions watching on television around the world, the league states.

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