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Ekstraklasa joins forces with Google to promote OTT platform

The Ekstraklasa, the top division of Polish club football, has struck a partnership with internet giant Google to promote the launch of its international streaming platform.

Eksrtraklasa.tv launched for international markets earlier this month, with a price of €2.99 ($3.30) for live games bought on a pay-per-view basis. The league’s wide-ranging tie-up with the Polish division of Google will focus on the promotion of the OTT’s content worldwide, including live match broadcasts.

From the beginning of the 2019-20 season on July 19, the Ekstraklasa has been streaming match highlights through its channel on Google’s video-sharing platform, YouTube. These have been provided minutes after full time, lasting 30 seconds for viewers in Poland and two minutes for fans outside the country.

The Ekstraklasa said that, thanks to this strategy, its channel has been visited by over 658,000 users during the first five rounds of the season, with subscriber numbers rising by over a third from 2018-19, to 34,500.

The match clips have generated around 1.5 million views on the channel, with the Ekstraklasa stating the first month of the initiative has already generated more viewers than during the whole 2018-19 season.

Ekstraklasa content has also been promoted through Google’s OneBox service, which is designed to help organisations drive exposure for their videos. Domestically, the Google Assistant service is being used to allow fans to gain quick access to information such as match schedules and results.

Finally, as part of its previous activity on YouTube, the Ekstraklasa has published archive match highlights on its Ekstraklasa Official Archives channel. YouTube is also being used by the Ekstraklasa to send near-live goal replay clips during matches to users of the league’s mobile app.

This was tested during several matches last season and is now regularly available. Commenting on the Google tie-up, Marcin Animucki, president of the management board of the Ekstraklasa, said: “From our findings, some (fans) will choose match broadcasts, others will be happy to see only the most interesting action, others will summarise matches.

“All this is already provided by our OTT platform. The challenge we are currently facing is providing Poles in various parts of the world with information about this platform.”

Previously, Ekstraklasa games were streamed internationally on Dailymotion, the Vivendi-owned video sharing website. The service gained particular traction in the likes of Germany, the UK and the US, given the large Polish expatriate populations.

The Ekstraklasa has been advised on its OTT project by Stefan Felsing, a former leading media rights executive at the Lagardère Sports agency who now heads up his own consultancy.