When Chatri Sityodtong described ONE Championship’s upcoming video streaming mobile application on a recent conference call as “mind-blowing” and “game-changing,” it definitely piqued our interest.
Until two days ago, there was no available information regarding the project. The types of content, timeline, or features of the organization’s project were largely unknown. But now, an interview with Sityodtong has surfaced on Tech In Asia, allowing us to piece together some of this puzzle.
What’s it all about?
In early May, ONE Championship will release a “YouTube-like” video streaming mobile application.
With a particular focus on martial arts in Asia, the application will feature ONE Championship videos, shows, and even content from ‘other promotions.’ Sityodtong is planning for this software to become the ‘center of the ONE Championship universe.’
Currently, the application is understood to feature:
- ONE Championship ‘content’
- Martial arts movies and shows
- Other promotions and sports (kickboxing, karate, and more)
What ‘content’ can we expect?
Although it has been confirmed that the app will feature ONE Championship contests, it remains to be seen whether the entire fight library will be accessible for viewers. The available content could be limited to a list of ‘featured fights,’ similar to what is frequently updated on the ONE Championship website and YouTube.
But most importantly, the app will provide a platform for viewers to watch their live shows.
Previously, ONE Championship relied on Cleeng – a video streaming service – as a platform to broadcast their live events. With every show available on a pay-per-view basis, fans were previously asked to pay $10 USD (and fees) to watch an event. With 24 planned shows for 2018, a customer would be required to pay at least $240 USD to watch every ONE event this year.
The ability to watch live shows on the new application will be appreciated by all. Recently, the organization has received criticism regarding the limited (and sometimes non-existent) methods for those around the world to watch the promotion. Most recently, fans in Australia were left stranded and without a way to watch Australian Martin Nguyen’s title challenge in the main event at ONE: Iron Will.
Movies, shows, and other promotions
ONE Championship recently got into the business of producing and publishing their own ONE Warrior Series on YouTube. The documentary-style series follows Rich Franklin as he bounces between countries in Asia searching for talented martial artists. It is understood that ONE Warrior Series is the first of what could be many martial arts related shows produced by ONE Championship for their mobile app.
As for movies and other promotions, however, there’s limited information available at the moment. The article from “Tech In Asia” does mention that there would be kickboxing and karate videos featured in the software.
With the goal of becoming an “all-around destination for fans and practitioners of martial arts,” there’s also a possibility that ONE includes instructional content and technique demonstrations, as well.
How much will it cost?
It appears that the application and the majority of its content will be available at no cost.
Sityodtong’s interview suggests that the organization isn’t interested in monetizing the application in the near future and will wait until ‘the user base is there,’ before achieving their monetary objectives ‘through advertising or other means.’
What we don’t know
For as much as we do know about the soon to be released mobile application, there are equal parts that remain a mystery.
Will the application be available worldwide?
Sityodtong’s interview repeatedly discusses the potential of the Asian market. However, there was no mention of the Western audience.
Will the live events be free?
The previous pay-per-view format required a $10 USD purchase, but all signs suggest that live coverage will be free for all users upon release.
What about desktop and television viewers?
Sityodtong explained that a mobile device is ‘perfect’ for watching mixed martial arts considering “72 percent of our matches end within a few minutes.” He also shared that “you’re not going to watch a 90-minute soccer game on [a phone],” indicating that the majority of the content will be bite-sized.
Sityodtong and the ONE Championship team are clearly targeting mobile users, but let’s not forget that desktop (and TV) provides an optimal viewing experience. While a soccer game obviously lasts longer than any singular fight, an entire ONE Championship event typically lasts longer than 180 minutes.
For that reason, the ability to Chromecast or share to a larger screen is an expected feature of the application.
This post will continue to be updated as further information regarding ONE Championship’s new video streaming mobile application is released.