Deezer has lined up two shots of top-tier football in an attempt to score points with its listeners.
The French music-streaming service, which has over 6 million paying subscribers around the world, said Thursday it will launch a football section of its app, where both free and premium-tier users can access live coverage of matches, stats and results, and football podcasts from different partners. In England, Deezer users will be able to access Barclays Premier League match broadcasts provided by talkSPORT, while German subscribers can tap into Bundesliga coverage provided by Sport1.
“Football is a major passion for many of our listeners, and we wanted to find a way to bring them closer to what they love,” Deezer’s Chief Content and Product Officer Alexander Holland said, in a statement.
While England and Germany are the first two countries to get access to Deezer’s football features, they will not be the last. The streaming service, which is active in 180 countries around the world, has rights to stream Barclays Premier League match broadcasts across the whole of the European Union, and further territories will be announced soon. For the moment, Bundesliga match broadcasts are available to German users only.
A Changed Tune
With Thursday’s announcement, Deezer has joined a growing list of streaming-music providers that have added live sports broadcasts to their services. Thanks to a partnership with Cumulus, Rdio subscribers can now listen to March Madness and the Kentucky Derby; Apple Music, which launched at the end of June, offers access to ESPN Radio; and TuneIn, a streaming service that views itself as being in a different category, offers Bundesliga and Premier League coverage as well as college basketball games.
Those moves and others are part of a larger trend of streaming competitors growing beyond their core offering of music-on-demand. Deezer set off in this direction last year, when it acquired the podcast aggregator Stitcher in October 2014. And while the company stresses that music is still one of its chief selling points, it has begun billing itself as an “audio content” company, rather than a streaming music service.
“Deezer, as a business and a brand, has a conviction to broaden the portfolio of content that we offer,” Christian Harris, Deezer’s UK managing director, told International Business Times. "Stitcher was the first step. Football was the second.”
Singing For Supper
Harris, who said that his company is mulling adding more sports too, stressed that Deezer is not broadening its scope to entice new customers so much as to increase the number of hours its users spend on its app.
“My expectation is this is not an acquisition tool,” Harris said. “We know from our own research that a significant portion of our own customer base is already engaging with football content.
“This is more a broadening and deepening of the offering.”
That depth will be crucial as the company jockeys with rivals for advertising dollars. Spotify, which launched a charm offensive on marketers in New York during Advertising Week, claims that its users are spending an average of two and a half hours every day using its service, a number that's climbed more than 30 minutes over the past year.
Deezer will need to measure up against that growth as it works to sell itself as a prime destination for marketers, and drum up support for an IPO. According to documents Deezer filed ahead of that offering, its revenues grew 52 percent in 2014, to $160 million.