José Aboumrad, head of Claro Sports, speaks to ttvnews about the challenges posed by piracy in times of eSports and social media, ahead of the event set to take place in Mexico City’s World Trade on Feb. 20-21.
By Enrique de la Rosa, in Mexico City, Mexico.
How would you define Claro Sports?
Claro Sports is a pay-TV platform available in Mexico and Latin America. We also have a digital platform called Marca Claro –as a result of our partnership with Spanish newspaper Marca- in all Latin America. Our job is to cover all sports events falling within our scope in the region and worldwide.
In that regard, Claro Sports has a strong presence in the region.
Yeah, we might be in the 500 million people... We are experiencing remarkable growth in the region, except for Brazil and the US. Digitally speaking, we have already set foot in Mexico, Colombia and Argentina. As far as pay TV is concerned, we are featured in pay-TV platforms in Mexico and America Latina through our own Claro platform, where we offer every service, including TV services.
How many hours of original programming does Claro Sports generate?
We have our own productions like newscasts, sports narrations, round table discussions; we also hold rights to soccer competitions and events, like plenty of Olympic Games-related content. We have, then, five daily newscasts, plus live soccer and so on. The college basketball and football seasons, for example, with rights granted by the NCAA. We’re doing very well; we’ve grown a great deal, albeit with a lot of competition, but we’re doing fine.
How are you approaching the first edition of the Sports Summit in Mexico?
I think the Sports Summit is a beautiful undertaking. It’s important for the industry and something new in Mexico and the region. Piracy is such a widespread problem that it is crucial to make users aware of how it affects us, so that they understand how serious the issue of stolen content, sports-related or otherwise, is.
Where does Claro Sports stand on the war on piracy?
We hold the rights to so much stuff that there is always trying to steal the signal. On social media, for example. We have to be constantly on the lookout to spot where people are consuming that content and see what technological and legal measures we can take against it. At the Sports Summit, we’ll talk about how we, as broadcasters, and the holder of the rights –the Olympic Comittee- can jointly fight piracy.
What do you think about the current regulatory framework?
I believe current laws fall short and lag behind technology. There is always a new platform. We must stand together as a united front. Get together with licensers very often. We must definitely unify efforts. Laws must be passed worldwide because of the extrapolation of territories, rights, languages... So many issues to take care of.
What are the challenges of trying to satisfy sports fans?
Sports fans are challenging themselves. Our next big event are the Tokio Olympics. There, for instance, the timetable will be challenging. We’re talking about 4,000 hours of Olympic events. That means negotiating a lot with different platforms, there’s our own platform... All this is changing rapidly because viewers consume the content whenever, wherever and however they want. That is why in Tokyo we’ll include social media, because a great deal of our viewing is done on the phone or tablets. In that regard, we think many things will have changed one year from now.
How do you get on with the brands?
The marketplace is full of brands. I think sports brands have driven our growth. According to Google, Claro was the # 1 brand by late 2018. Little by little we have achieved an understanding of how brands work and how they want to reach consumers.
What challenges do eSports pose?
eSports are a major challenge. You need to understand them. There are plenty of artists. At Carso Group(América Móvil), we have a number of lines. We’re devising a strategy for entering a market poised to grow massively. For old-schoolers like us, it is a sport we need to wrap our head around. The Olympic Committee is likely to eventually accept it so as to reach a younger audience.