An All Blacks team announcement — and a promo for Amazon
Anyone heading to the official All Blacks site on Sunday morning might have expected to see the team to play France as the lead story.
Instead, there was a promo for All or Nothing: New Zealand All Blacks, the documentary that will feature on Amazon's Prime Video streaming service from June 1.
It's quite a hard sell, which includes links to Amazon's Prime Video sign-up page and a streaming how-to guide.
The six-part doco will screen on Sky TV too (presumably a quid pro quo for providing games footage) but Prime Video has first dibs, which should get a good whack of new members on board, and familiarised with how to get video from Amazon's platform to a regular telly.
Coupled with other recent developments, including Spark bagging World Cup 2019 rights, and the arrival of outside broadcasting giant NEP in New Zealand (more on that key development here), it's easy to see All or Nothing: New Zealand All Blacks as a precursor to Amazon bidding for rights to All Blacks game post-2020.
But that is by no means a given.
Amazon has also made two similar series on NFL teams in the US. In that case, it was a precursor to Amazon bidding for rights. In April, Amazon renewed a deal to stream Thursday night NFL games, paying $US130 million (or 30% more than last year). But it's also important to understand that in the context of rights to A-list US sports, that was a chump-change side deal. Between them, traditional broadcasters Fox and NBC are paying tens of billions for multi-year rights to most games.
And while English Premier League team Manchester City also featured in an All or Nothing series, Amazon did not feature in the recent bidding for the next three seasons English Premier League rights — despite it being a relatively restrained auction that saw successful bids 13% below the last contract (rights across seven packages were split between Sky TV UK and BT).
Bottom line: Departing Sky TV boss John Fellet has a lot to worry about, from Spark's increasing ambition to NEP breaking his company's long-time monopoly on the outside broadcast infrastructure needed to film local games. But the Amazon threat is looking over-baked.