DAZN eyes original programming to fill schedules

DAZN, the OTT platform operated by digital sports media company Perform, is to produce original lifestyle content in a bid to fill its schedule amid its international expansion plan.

The Digiday website said this content will include documentaries, talk shows and podcasts, with DAZN set to launch in the US next month.

In July, Perform revealed that DAZN will open in the US on September 10 priced at $9.99 (€8.5) per month, with boxing’s heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Alexander Povetkin headlining the initial offerings.

The announcement followed May’s initial revelation of Perform and Matchroom Boxing’s $1bn joint venture to create Matchroom Boxing USA. DAZN is the exclusive broadcast partner for the JV, screening over 30 fight nights a year.

DAZN subsequently followed the Matchroom announcement by agreeing a multi-year rights deal with US mixed martial arts promotion Bellator and acquiring US rights for season two of the World Boxing Super Series.

With its initial US rights lineup dominated by combat sports, DAZN is set to supplement this content with an original daily news show that will offer a lighthearted take on what fighters do outside the ring.

“In a market like the US where we’re very strong in combat sports rights but don’t have much else, we need original content,” James Rushton, chief executive of DAZN, told Digiday. “Part of our challenge is, we have to turn these boxers back into superstars.”

However, Rushton maintained that DAZN does not want to become so reliant on original content that production costs have to be passed on to customers.

“It’s about creating content that adds value but at the same time doesn’t encumber the business with additional costs that have to be passed on to consumers,” he added.