With the Internet fast overtaking television as the biggest marketplace for advertising, it’s perhaps not surprising that more entertainment is being screened on the Internet as opposed to on our television screens. Tonight’s World Cup qualifier, between England and Ukraine (kick off at 5:15pm), was originally supposed to be screened on Setanta, but after that TV channel folded and England qualified for the World Cup against Croatia, no channel was prepared to pay the asking price for tonight’s fixture in the Ukraine.
This left the Ukrainian Football Federation with little option but to offer the game over the Internet on a special pay-per-view website. The game is limited to just one million viewers (so should have plenty of spare tickets) and was originally offered out at £4.99 for those who booked early enough. You can still register to watch it tonight, but now you’ll have to pay the full price of £11.99.
According to Peter Silverstone, the MD of Kentaro, the company streaming the game live over the Internet, the game will be offered in a high quality format.
You will watch as you would any other streaming on the internet, like YouTube or the BBC iPlayer.
There will be a pop-up player that will show the match in a very good quality stream.
This has however caused controversy for football fans who feel they’re getting a raw deal. England games used to be televised on terrestrial TV, but when Sky bought the rights fans needed to install satellite dishes just to watch the games. Then pay-per-view came in, and Setanta, and now games are being shown exclusively over the Internet. It’s a great step forward in technology, but a disastrous one for allowing fans access to the games.
Cinema chain ‘Odeon’ is to show the games across the country, but sadly no pubs will be screening them (at least legally) so many England fans will miss out on watching the game.
England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand however believes the move is a good one and represents the future of televised football matches.
I read that online advertising has taken over from TV, so that tells you something about where it’s going in terms of the digital world.
So I’m sure it’ll be the way forward and in the future it’ll probably be the reality. I think it’s a good way to gauge how many people are interested.
For those interested in watching the Ukraine v England game live, you can sign up at ukrainevengland.com.