The Premier League is plotting the launch of a Netflix-style streaming platform in a bid to boost revenue from TV rights in overseas markets.
Richard Masters, the Premier League’s new chief executive, has confirmed that plans to set up a direct to consumer offering are already underway.
The service, which would allow viewers in some countries to pay directly for a so-called Premflix channel rather than access games through pay TV services, could be available for the next three-year rights package from 2022.
“During the last process we spent quite a lot of time and invested a lot of recourse in building out our expertise and capacity in direct consumer,” Masters told reporters.
“We considered whether it would be the right time to test a few markets and decided not to. But we are going to continue for the planning phase in the next commercial term to build out those capabilities.”
He added: “We were ready last time and we will be ready next time should the opportunity arise.”
The value of domestic broadcasting rights fell from £5.4bn to £5bn for the latest package, which runs from 2019 to 2022. However, the value of overseas rights has grown.
Selling rights to broadcasters will likely remain the principle strategy for the Premier League, which last week secured a six-year deal worth £2bn in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. The streaming approach is also unlikely in the UK, but it could prove lucrative in emerging markets such as Asia.
“I’m not saying it will happen in the next cycle or when it will happen but eventually the Premier League will move to a mix of direct consumer and media rights sales,” Masters said.
Masters, who took over from Richard Scudamore in December after incoming boss David Pemsel resigned before starting in the role, played down concerns about the recent decline in domestic rights value.
“We have every reason to be optimistic about the future of sports rights. I don’t think the bubble has burst because our business is effectively hedged between domestic performance and international,” he said.
“The domestic rights did go down by a small margin last time round, but off the back of two big leaps. International revenue has continued to grow and I have no reason to believe it won’t continue to do so.”
The UK market is dominated by rival broadcasters Sky and BT Sport, which together boast roughly 8m subscribers. However, the league experienced its first taste of streaming this season after Amazon Prime secured rights to show 20 matches.