News Corp Acquires Digital Rights to English Soccer Clips for Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia

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The company also picked up mobile and Internet rights in Asian territories for clips from North American, German, French, Italian and Brazilian soccer leagues.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp said Monday that it has secured exclusive mobile and Internet rights to highlight clips from English Premier League soccer games for Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia, beginning with the upcoming season’s kickoff in late August.

The company also grabbed exclusive rights for mobile and Internet in the Asian territories for a slew of other global soccer leagues, including: Bundesliga (Germany), Ligue 1 (France), Serie A (Italy), FA Cup (England), Championship (England), Capital One Cup (England), Brazilian Championship, and Major League Soccer (North America).

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All together, News Corp says the various acquisitions will make it possible for the company to provide Indonesian, Japanese and Vietnamese soccer fans with highlights from over 1,600 regular season, playoff and championship games. To facilitate such service, the company plans to soon launch a web and mobile distribution product.

“European [soccer] is growing exponentially in popularity in Asia, particularly among the younger generation, whose passion for the game is complemented by a rapidly increasing adoption of smartphones,” said Robert Thomson, CEO of News Corp. “Given that globalization and digitization are the two most profound and powerful trends of our era, digital delivery of European football in Asia is the sweetest of sweet spots."

News Corp acquired the exclusive English Premier League mobile and Internet rights for three years, through the 2015-2016 season. The deals for the various other leagues cover two years, the company said. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore added, in a statement: “We are extremely pleased that News Corp has chosen to invest in our mobile and internet clip rights in Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia. Their expertise in multi-platform news and sport coverage means that fans in all three territories can look forward to comprehensive Barclays Premier League clips being available on their smartphones, tablets and other devices.”

The Asia deals follow News Corp.’s similar investment moves in the U.K., where it recently acquired digital clip rights for English Premier Leagu soccer. The company clearly sees Internet and mobile channels playing an important role in audiences’ future consumption and has said the clips offering will help attract subscribers after the recent launch of its digital paywall for U.K. tabloid The Sun.

In July, Murdoch's News U.K. also sealed a deal to become the exclusive carrier of online and mobile clips of all FA Cup matches. The company had previously struck a deal in January for the rights to highlight the clips for English Premier League soccer, to be carried across the digital platforms.

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