Clemson University Set to Launch Exclusive OTT Channel, Clemson+
Fans of Clemson University have a new reason to cheer today. The South Carolina school just set a launch date of February 15 for its new OTT channel, Clemson+. While this isn’t the first school to create an OTT channel, the Tigers’ new streaming channel will be significantly different.
What makes Clemson+ so unique is that it will only be available to members of the IPTAY Club, the school’s booster and fundraising organization. Rather than selling subscriptions, the channel is an “exclusive benefit for members,” giving IPTAY members access to Clemson+ with their own username and password from the IPTAY site.
Originally, the letters IPTAY stood for “I pay ten a year” and the club was founded in 1934 to give the Clemson athletic program the support it needed. IPTAY donors provide millions of dollars in scholarships and offer support for programs and facilities. IPTAY is supported through annual donations, gift planning, and more.
Clemson+ allows members to stream press conferences, classic games, behind-the-scenes, as well as docu-series like the popular Clemson football VLOG, which has been running for five seasons. In addition, Clemson has hired three new positions in order to create more long-form video content. The main benefit of Clemson+ is that all of that content, long-form, and quick clips, will all be housed on a single platform.
IPTAY has close to 20,000 members, meaning Clemson+ is predicted to have a sizable audience. Also, the Tigers’ in-house multimedia rights team will sell sponsorships to Clemson+ programs to drive revenue.
The school has been developing Clemson+ with media tech firm WMT for almost a year now. “It’s going to be a Netflix or ESPN+ type of experience. That’s how we’re talking about it,” said Clemson AD Graham Neff. “We’ve prided ourselves for years on what we’ve done with social media and especially video content. Now we’ve got a place that will be home for all things Clemson.”
While there will be a revenue component to Clemson+, Graham Neff is looking at the bigger picture when it comes to the channel’s success. He adds, “We want to grow our membership and we’re looking at a number of different ways to do that, but we feel like this added benefit is going to be a compelling piece of that.”
The OTT channel will be available on Apple TV, Roku, and Android TV streaming platforms, the ClemsonTigers app, and the new ClemsonPlus.com website (which has yet to be launched).
Other examples of universities include Vermont Tech, which released its sports OTT channel in November 2021 for all its students to gain access to games.
In addition, Oklahoma State launched a similar subscription-based streaming service, OSU Max, which launched on Wednesday, December 22. Another example includes Fighting Irish TV for Notre Dame, which was also created by WMT.
Although Clemson+ has a small pool of competitors, the exclusivity of Clemson+ may be a recipe for failure if the content doesn’t draw in its members.