Fabio Gallo, from Liga Tech, talks about LaLiga Pass

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Spanish football is making its international debut. After the news in recent weeks about the negotiations to see who broadcasts LaLiga for the next five years and many previous rumors about such a launch, Indonesia and Thailand have become the first two countries to host LaLiga Pass, LaLiga’s OTT to sell the monthly subscription directly to the consumerwithout intermediaries in the form of telecoms or broadcasters.

As a result of this launch we interviewed in Xataka a Fabio Gallo, Head of Product in LaLiga Tech, the subsidiary that brings together the technological developments of the institution to exploit them commercially. With him we talked about the technical details of this release, the possibilities it allows or the plans for the next phases.

Xataka: Why has OTT been started in these two countries, Indonesia and Thailand?

Face Fabius

Fabius: It is a very simple reason. In the end, the global idea we have is to give fans from all over the world the chance to watch the Spanish first and second division, anywhere in the world. And when there is no possibility of making it through a partner For the first time, a direct-to-consumer option has been proposed in these two countries.

Our goal as a league is to offer fans from all over the world the chance to watch all the matches from the entire competition, including old classic matches, or special programs that will be created every week, so that fans can get closer to LaLiga and you can take advantage of having a single application in which to finally see all the football without having to switch from one to another. That is the goal, and that is why it is called OTT.

In the LaLiga Pass statement, it is said that in addition to the matches, other exclusive content will arrive, such as summaries or highlights. Stops, goals, etc. What else?

Yes, the best games will be shown, the most watched, the ones that the fans will have at their disposal not just once, since what we do live will also be on demand. That’s the beauty of having the OTT. That also helps fans to watch games, to interact with the platform… That’s what you want to give. Besides, there will be special programs every week.

League Pass

Will other competitions and sports also arrive, such as those included in LaLiga Sports TV?

Yes, in cases where the rights allow it, the idea is to provide content from LaLiga Sports TV.

These first two countries have a GDP per capita that is significantly lower than that of Spain, which is not even a world leader. How does this affect the connectivity of these countries? To the technical requirements? Are there problems with lower spec devices?

In these first two countries, with more modest technology and connectivity, an adaptive bitrate has been incorporated with a minimum quality lower than usual in Spain

Absolutely, at LaLiga Tech we have a lot of knowledge of these countries, and of this type. The big problem in all of Southeast Asia and in emerging countries is that connectivity is indeed very low. And besides, they use, as you rightly say, different mobiles and connectivity than what we are used to. And 90% of the market is Android. So at a technological level, what you want to implement are solutions for users of this type of phone.

What is done so that they do not have problems? So a solution of bit rate adaptive. In this case even with a first bit rate much lower than normal. For example, in Spain we usually start with 720p, or sometimes something less. In this case, the idea is to start from 200p to help all those who do not have a Wi-Fi connection and use their data, which is often not even 3G, but 2G. In principle, that they do not have to disconnect, but that they can watch the game in the quality that, although it is not the best, they can still enjoy it.

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What compression do the broadcasts use?

We use H.264.

Are there plans to use the AV1 codec in the future?

We are attentive to the evolution of codecs in the market and of course we contemplate AV1 for the future, in addition to other new generation codecs that allow us to reach more devices using the optimal bandwidth and maximizing the quality of delivery to our users.

The output is for iOS, Android, web and applications for Smart TV. In the press release it is said that it will be extended to new platforms and devices.

Yes, and there will be specific platforms that are widely used in certain countries. For example, in India there is one in particular that is the most used. Each country will have a specific job to adapt to it and to reach the fans as best as possible. The product is not a matter of launching it and that’s it, but rather it has a continuous evolution.


Are there consoles, or the FireTV from Amazon?

Yes, with Fire TV, for example, there are other markets and contexts where it is already available through LaLiga Sports TV, it is a matter of adapting.

Are there any devices or platforms that we can rule out in this compatibility?

Not for the moment. The first thing for us is to collect usage data, because we can always find positive or negative surprises. How we are a company data-driven and we like to have controlled audience and usage data, we will improve. It is not ruled out that if a platform does not have a place in a geographical area, it will end up being discarded.

How many simultaneous playbacks does the app allow?

Only one user at a time. It is not possible to connect two people at the same time to view the matches.

In this first phase, the content arrives in 1080p, limited to one user per account and with anti-VPN functionality

What maximum resolution does it offer?

1080p. We’re thinking about going to 4K, but for these markets we’re going to look at the audience first, what platforms are they used on… 4K may be available, but we think 1080p at the moment is sufficient.

It is mentioned that there are three matches of the ten of each day of LaLiga Santander that will be narrated in the local language. The other seven in what language will they be? Spanish and English?

That’s right, always Spanish and English. And when there is a possibility for other parties, in the local language too. This at the level of discovery, not just consumption.

What happens to people who try to use this app from another country using a vpn?

We have an anti-VPN functionality to block the use of VPN.

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Have you ever commented that your own OTT will allow you to further customize the product. In what sense?

Personalizing or recommending content makes sense when there is a lot of content. When there is, discovery is more difficult. That part is included in personalized content recommendations. That is intended to be included in a second phase, when there is already much more content, not in an initial phase. A custom solution will be released for this recommendation so customers can enjoy more content based on their preferences.

The good thing is that we receive a lot of data that we interconnect, and then we can understand people, age segments, etc., what type of content is most similar to them.

What potential do you see for this OTT that has not yet been implemented, but you have in the roadmap?

Brutal. A brutal potential, from our point of view. It is a small revolution. For such an important football league… I have not seen European leagues launch a direct-to-consumer solution of this power. Yes, there are things on the market, sports platforms… But such a disruptive solution, in a context in which rights continue to increase in value, is impressive. And to have, as a user experience, an application from which you can watch all the matches, and then be able to watch them again as many times as you want, from wherever you want, whenever you want… We hope that it will be a success for the fan.

When this product is mature also in terms of user base, countries in which it has a presence, etc… What do you think will be the trend for OTTs then?

The OTT are modules that interconnect with each other. Both at the product, technology and business level. The data, from our point of view, is really the most important point. New algorithms, the possibility of including things like five-year NFT payments is something that I don’t see as unreasonable… Or the possibility of including content that isn’t linear, but through a virtual reality application… It’s something I don’t see that far.

“We track thousands of data. Of consumption, of anything that happens. It is one of our strengths.”

At the level of data collection, what type of user information can you infer from the use of the application or the web?

Really we track thousands of data. Of consumption, of anything that happens. It is one of our strengths at LaLiga Tech, because it allows you to have total control over the audience, over what they really like… But also over what technology can or cannot give you. I’ll give you an example: the theme of the buffering. It is essential in a video experience. Being able to monitor that is essential. We can also work with third-party analytics services in real time, receive automatic alerts when there is a failure, or a ratio of buffering which is too high compared to the others… Alerts come to us, and thanks to that we react.

This next stage cookielesswith Apple making so many restrictions or Google changing the way they are managed, I imagine that it has been another lever that will have driven you to move to this direct-to-consumer model.

Absolutely. We are defining the final strategy now, but what you say is totally correct. We have a department at LaLiga Tech that is precisely called Customer Strategy, and it is defining the strategy cookieless. It’s on our radar.

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You have mentioned in the exploitation of data a lot of internal improvement, of development. Can it have another more commercial use, such as offering other services, games, applications, merchandise…?

Yes, that is a fundamental point. All the data we receive, from any application, device, etc, you have to think that they go to a cloud, the Customer Intelligence & Analytics. It is a very large project of our digital ecosystem. Having all that data connection we have not only the classic data, which comes from an OTT or a website. What we do is interconnect them.

The data that we have not only looks at whether Fabio is entering the OTT in Indonesia or in Thailand, and has left, and if I have lost that person. They see if he has gone out, where he has gone, what he has done, what interests he has… To have a commercial vision and be able to share certain data with the partners of LaLiga, which can be sponsorssales ticketingsales merchandiseetc.

What added value, apart from the financial aspect, does LaLiga derive from this OTT compared to exploitation via third parties, such as Telefónica and DAZN?

If we look at the history of LaLiga, it is not something strictly new, in the end we launched a few years ago LaLiga Sports TV, which was the first OTT. It was also launched to have internal knowledge to understand what users want, how they want to visualize, etc. Because even then our president already had the vision of thinking beyond the traditional way of distributing rights. And also years ago the possibility of having a direct solution to the consumer of the League itself was thought of. With contents of first and second division.

It is not something that happens from one day to the next, as you can imagine, it is a very studied strategy. And in the end, the objective of LaLiga is to distribute content through any device, whether traditional or new technologies, which are the most used by slightly younger generations.

Spanish football is making its international debut. After the news in recent weeks about the negotiations to see who broadcasts…

Spanish football is making its international debut. After the news in recent weeks about the negotiations to see who broadcasts…

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