Manchester United’s CEO Ed Woodward has unveiled his glamorous vision for the club.
Woodward addressed United’s investors on the New York Stock Exchange earlier this week to update them on the Red Devils’ finances.
During which he revealed United had made a profit of £0.1million since February, revenue had gone up up eight per cent and the net debt at Old Trafford have dramatically slumped to £301.3m – a decrease of £65.0 million over the year
And to boost the finances further, Woodward is ready to boost their digital output and take on the might of Netflix and Amazon – with United eying up a place on the top table of the media, as originally reported by the Manchester Evening News.
An iPhone app that is the number one sports download on IOS in 36 countries is just part of a vision that will be core to the club’s interaction with fans around the world.
Likewise a new website that will be fully launched in the summer.
But it is MUTV that could prove the jewel in United’s crown as Woodward continues to grow the brand and spread its influence.
UK rights to the recent friendly between Russia and France was just a taste of Woodward’s grander vision.
Long term, the ultimate money-spinner for the world’s leading clubs is to control the live rights to all their fixtures.
Woodward has acknowledged the power of ‘original content’ and will continue to explore ways to exploit United’s to the maximum.
His latest move is to make MUTV available on connected televisions in the manner of Netflix and Amazon Prime, which is revolutionising TV consumption.
Once again, the club’s US tour games will all be screened live on the club’s own channel this summer.
“OTT platforms will be the future of content consumption,” said Woodward. “Live, compelling content will be the key battleground. The influences of which are successful.
“Whichever way the rapidly changing media landscape unfolds, content generators are uniquely placed to be the beneficiaries.
"As such we continue to believe live sports content will be increasingly more valuable in the future."
The move follows fast on the heels of United’s introduction to YouTube.
After just six months they are within 400,000 followers of Manchester City, who became the first Premier League club to break one million barrier, but set up their channel in 2009.
“This quarter we launched the club’s first YouTube channel and in terms of subscribers, within the first hour we overtook the Dallas Cowboys and an hour later we overtook the Yankees," added Woodward.
“The channel quickly became bigger than all US sports teams and has over 800,000 subscribers. We are the fastest growing sports channel that’s ever launched on youtube.”
If United were late to the game in that instance, it is a measure of incredible reach around the globe.
When it comes to over top TV content, Woodward is determined to ensure they are leading the way at a time when City and Juventus have been subject to documentaries on Amazon and Netflix respectively – helping to grow their brands to new audiences.
United have already used power of their social media presence – on Facebook and Twitter – to help in negotiations for transfer targets.
And this could be another weapon in their arsenal when trying to entice the world’s leading players.
Woodward may have found his latest area to enhance United’s status as one of the richest clubs in sport.
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