It has probably never been said before, but Facebook and Google’s sales look like they are going down as a result of the virus crisis.
However since most other companies are seeing revenue falls at about 10 times the amount of Facebook and Google, it probably doesn’t bother anyone too much.
Travel and entertainment adverts have gone, and so the two giants are charging much lower prices than they used to see. Their revenues will decline – but they will still be the dominant giants because everyone else will suffer even more.
Everyone, except one that is.
For this is Amazon’s dream time. Shops shut, people can’t go out. You want something, where are you going to buy it?
This Christmas Amazon continued its exploration of football on its site with a week of games that were not shown live anywhere else. It was apparently quite a success.
And Amazon, as we know, grows all the time, not least because at the moment, most of us can’t get to the shops.
Meanwhile, BT Sprout and Sky are in very dangerous territory. Both utterly depend on football as their driving force. Everything else is secondary, not least because most other things can be got on other channels. You want films – well yes there are films on Sky, but there are many more on Netflix etc. Sky is being squeezed in all its main areas – and of all the main areas football is the biggest.
Even Twitter is in decline at the moment it seems. Google, Facebook and Amazon are the only three mega-businesses that are safe. Which makes them the obvious new home of football.
True Facebook ads have declined 35 per cent to 50 per cent on average in the past month but there is no doubt that when the virus does pass and the lockdown ends, they will bounce back immediately. And the thought of hitting out at the giant broadcasters by grabbing football rights must be very tempting.
Of course, Facebook and Google do not have everything their own way because advertisers do not want their product advertised next to items about deaths from coronavirus. But Facebook and Google are very nifty when it comes to ensuring advertisers are comfortable with the content that their advertisements appear alongside.
Amazon, of course, doesn’t have this problem because it has its own TV channel. But there is nothing to stop Facebook and Google doing the same, and launching their own channels which are separated from the rest of their content and visible through computers or TVs.
And going into football could be exactly what Google needs, especially as it reported that it had taken down 50 million advertisements as of the end of March, and 80 percent of these were coronavirus related. When your advertisers are causing problems, what you need is new product.
Facebook likewise knocked out advertisements for masks, sanitizer and other personal protective equipment, and this is the sort of thing that gives it a bad name. So having a TV channel of its own is exactly the sort of thing it could do with, and that will give it another way of selling advertising, to a different group of companies.
The problem for BT Sprout and Sky is that their model is very much very last century, when satellite TV was exciting and all the rage. Now we wonder why films have migrated to Netflix and the like, but football is still stuck in the old media. This could be the moment it changes, as indeed Amazon has shown.
And if it does move, let us hope that it can resist the error-strewn path that the Sprout and Sky have taken with their own fake news about injuries, yellow cards, and the like, plus their refusal to deal seriously PGMO. If any of these three corporations could get the rights to football without having any engagement with PGMO we might at least hear commentaries that start with the fact that this is the tenth time this season Referee X has overseen Arsenal, “and that surely cannot be right”.
They might even question why they are never allowed to interview the referee post match.
- The home and away scandal: ignorance, or cover up?
- The reason why Liverpool and Man C are ahead of Arsenal.
- How which referee a club gets has a major impact on the result of each game
- The statistical evidence that shows PGMO are biased against Arsenal
- How European football has taken up the fight against clubs breaking FFP