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DAZN plans tidal wave of free content amid acquisition spree

Olajide William Olatunji and Logan Paul onstage. Photo: Michael Tran/Getty Images

DAZN, an international sports streaming company that launched a year ago in the U.S., is on the horizon of a major live sporting events acquisition spree, sources tell Axios.

  • The company is reportedly looking to raise roughly $500 million to fund the deals.
  • For the first time, it will create free programming to make more people aware of its product in the U.S., so that they eventually become subscribers.

Driving the news: DAZN will be producing a rematch between YouTube influencers KSI and Logan Paul this Saturday.

  • Its content team will create a free "Countdown show" that will air live on YouTube, Twitter and Twitch before the event to drive subscription sign-ups. The show will feature other YouTube personalities such as Adam Saleh and Mike Maljak.

The big picture: The news comes as the company begins to ramp up production of its original programming and plans on making nearly all of its non-live content available for free off-platform, sources tell Axios.

  • The original programming DAZN plans on offering for free is viewed entirely as an awareness vehicle for the live events and athletes that are exclusive to its service.
  • For example, the service’s documentary series "40 DAYS," which teams celebrity executive producers with boxers to document the 40 days leading up to their fights, is viewed internally as a marketing play.

DAZN executives believe each piece of content they produce should fall into one of three buckets:

  1. Awareness Programming, or free stuff.
  2. Acquisition Programming, or live events that will attract new subscribers.
  3. Retention programming, like documentaries that keep people subscribed to the service between big live events.

"Each piece of content we develop must deliver on one of three areas," says Jamie Horowitz, EVP Content, DAZN North America.

  • Does it drive awareness for DAZN? Will it lead to customer acquisition? Will it retain our subscribers?”
  • "Identifying those standards has guided our decision-making process and allows us to strategically allocate our focus and resources."

Our thought bubble: Subscription media companies like The Athletic and The Information have started putting content in front of a paywall to get more people to subscribe.

  • This concept, known typically as "flexible sampling," is referenced often when digital media companies talk about keeping things in front of a paywall on search engines.