Five minutes with Gravity Media’s new Director, Production and Content, Steve Norris

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What’s your career highlight to date?

Setting up Ten Sports in Dubai. When I arrived, we were pouring concrete into the desert, and when I left, we were one of the most successful TV networks in India, being distributed to over 100 million viewers.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the M&E industry?

Smile, be engaging, give every task 100%, ask questions and learn as much as you can from others.  

Why is live sport so appealing to broadcasters?

In a world of time-shifted viewing, sport is the last bastion of appointment to view TV. Nobody watches England in the World Cup a day later and that is the one advantage premium sport has over any other form of content. The ‘currency’ of live sport will always come with a ‘premium’ price tag.   

How is the entrance of the giants of Silicon Valley to live sports impacting the market?

Since their entry, there has been no ‘dramatic’ change yet. But everybody is waiting to see what their appetite is. So far, the approach has very much been experimental. However, such is the purchasing power of these giants that they are the only organisations capable of a ‘global’ play in sports acquisitions that could change the market fundamentally.

What can smaller leagues or niche sports do to stand out from the shadow of the Premier League etc.?

Do more themselves… Sell their own rights, broadcast their own events, create DTC and OTT propositions and utilise the data that provides to grow the business. As more and more money is spent on premium rights such as Premier League and UCL, third and fourth tier rights holders are struggling to command rights fees for their content. They will have to look at different models to grow/maintain their revenue.

What opportunities are there for rights owners (today and going forward) and how do they best take advantage of them?

It’s a complex market for rights holders. As a rule, rights values are going down in many territories. The federations/rights-holders need to manage their businesses effectively in this challenging climate and will need to explore and exploit other commercial opportunities to keep their revenue streams healthy. This may be OTT and direct to consumer, or a combination of Pay TV and OTT.

As a lead negotiator, how would you define the art of successful negotiation?

Both sides need to walk away feeling that they could have probably got a better deal if they pushed really hard. But ultimately, they are happy and comfortable with the deal they signed up to. It’s the one thing always to consider that once a deal is signed, both sides need to be incentivised to work together to make it a success.

How do you relax outside of work?

Golf, tennis and cooking.

What’s your insider tip you’d give someone visiting the UK?

Book into a hotel for two days in Soho and eat your own body weight in food. Some of London’s best restaurants are here, all in easy walking distance.