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SFR investigating change in sports strategy – report

French telecommunications company SFR is planning a major overhaul of its sports strategy to better capitalise on its premium rights.

French newspaper Les Echos, citing an internal source, said SFR is in the midst of rethinking its television strategy, which at present has been focused on a bundled multi-play fixed offering, with a view towards placing more emphasis on OTT offerings.

Launched a year ago, at a price of €9.99 ($11.5) per month and without the need for a long-term subscription, Les Echos said SFR Sport’s current OTT platform has only gained around 15,000 customers, not including the package launched in February bundling SFR Sport with fellow pay-television platform beIN Sports.

“We are reviewing the whole strategy on the pay-TV, putting OTT at the heart,” the source said, while Les Echos added that Patrick Drahi, president of parent telco Altice, spoke recently to employees regarding the plans.

According to Les Echos, SFR is also weighing up making all its sports channels premium offerings rather than providing them as part of a bundle with its multi-play service.

SFR Sport’s current flagship sports property is football’s English Premier League, but it will add the Champions League and Europa League next season. In May, SFR Sport secured exclusive rights to the competitions from the 2018-19 season, ousting rival operators beIN Sports and Canal Plus as the rights-holder.

Drahi this month moved to regain control of Altice following a significant reduction in the firm’s share price triggered by a profit warning issued earlier in November.

The developments resulted in the resignation of Michel Combes, Altice chief executive. Drahi has been appointed president of the board of Altice and will set out the strategic, operational, commercial and technological agenda for the group and its execution, in particular SFR Group. Key members of Altice management will report directly to him.