There’s a record that’s set to be broken next weekend. If you’re a fan of “combat sports,” then you probably already know that we’re referring to the upcoming fight between Floyd Mayweather and Connor McGregor, which is expected to be “the biggest fight ever in the history of two people punching each other,"as colorfully described by UFC President Dana White. The event, scheduled for August 26th, is expected to gross over a half a billion dollars, with much of the viewership numbers—and money—coming from those watching the fight as a pay-per-view event.
The match is notable for other reasons as well, beyond the fact that that the two fighters come from entirely different sports (boxing vs. mixed martial arts). It’s notable for the fact that it will be available via pay-per-view to cord-cutters (people who have cancelled their cable subscription) via various streaming services, for an additional fee—a new offering by these services.
In the past, fans who wanted to watch pay-per-view fights could only do so through their cable subscription. Cord-cutters weretold to find a local bar that was showing it—great news for bar owners, not a great option for those who didn’t want to endure the inevitable crowds, screaming fans, and spilled beer to watch the event. Another option might be to find a website streaming the event for free, but such sites are notorious for harboring malware.
Even those people who had an internet-only streaming service were out of luck as those services weren’t supporting live pay-per-view events. But as the world of OTT streaming has grown and evolved, so have the services on which audiences rely for their televised entertainment.
The move to expand into pay-per-view is undoubtedly an effort to better compete in a crowded marketplace by acknowledging the unique appeal of live-streamed events.
Other events, such as the various awards shows (Grammys, Oscars, etc.) along with things like the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show have been streamed live by the big OTT services for the past couple of years, but they’ve been available only to their subscribers, not on a pay-per-view basis.
Which brings up another point. If you’re a subscription service and you’re thinking of offering “one-offs” you’ll need a subscription platform that can accommodate both the purchase of a recurring item (the subscription plan or plans) and a non-recurring item at the same time.
Offering such complementary items that your customers may want or need, such as a dog toy to go along with a monthly box of dog treats, or a jewelry box to go along with a subscription service for access to designer jewelry, is an increasingly common way for subscription businesses to both meet their customers’ needs and create an additional revenue stream. Recurly supports this type of “hybrid billing model,” allowing subscription businesses to sell one-time items along with a subscription plan.