Why offering more to your viewers is an absolute must 

There was a recent article posted on the excellent “off the pitch” platform by James Corbett that resonated with many of the things that I have been saying about the need to offer the audience more to stave off, and I quote, the silent but looming threat that football is facing. Andrew Georgiou (HOS at Eurosport) had spoken on the Panel in question about his concern that a whole generation were entirely disconnected from Football. Stats were given to back this up, 43 % of 13-23 year olds had no interest in sport, as opposed to about 43% in other age group. This is serious issue not just for the Federations themselves but also for the rights holders and broadcasters. 

Why is engaging with this next generation audience so important? 

Firstly, because there are so many of them, at 68 Million Gen Z is the biggest demographic group in the US. Secondly, they are not interested in passive consumption of premium sport content, they will not be prepared to pay for that experience as and when they reach the age those bills become their responsibility. They need more, they want to feel they are part of a community and that the content they are prepared to pay for is a personal experience for them.

For the major broadcasters, the issue is now noticeable but not too negative – yes there is cord cutting and churn from a problematic millennial audience, a desire to subscribe per event rater than long term commitments. At present the core subscriber base is still large enough to hold the whole thing together – in ten years time this core will be further diluted, two decades from now and things will look very different. 

So what to do, how to entice them back? 

How do we put it back at the centre of attention for younger fans. At present the most standard attempt for traditional broadcasters are those clunky social media segments to appeal to this connected viewer – “please get in touch!” “Let us know your thoughts!” But this is in effect sending people away from your owned and operated platform to the wild wild west of socialmedia or even cumbersome companion apps. Discussion about great goals and controversial decisions is happening away from the broadcasters platform although it’s been generated by their very expensive rights and from their line up of highly paid expert contributors. The viewer has to go looking for this additional content, whats app, twitter, betting apps, but the actual show is essentially the same as it has always been. It is time to deliver real engagement, to position it over the top of this expertly produced content and speak to this modern viewer to everyone’s benefit. 

This modern viewer wants their voice to count, wants content that is personal to them. This is exactly the approach that rights holders, federation and broadcasters should now be looking to implement. They are then able to increase viewership, develop a new and contented and connected audience with the additional benefits of retention and monetization.

Media Convergence is Key 

Media convergence is vital in this brave new world, an understanding of the broadcastworld but also a deep knowledge of the digital world that has been developing and curating content for a modern viewer for many years. And this is one of the reasons why Sport Buff is being asked by more and more of the worlds major broadcasters to help them effectively guarantee them the audiences of the future.

Let The Specialists help 

Gamification is Sport Buff’s raison d’etre, they are always iterating the product, adding and refining, concentrating on what we need to concentrate on and allowing their partners to do the same. Using the product allows the content providers to bring the conversation back across their output, to help them retain and monetize their audience and to break the fourth wall. Sport Buff understand what it takes for a major sports broadcaster to put on a high end, big budget event, the focus, the expertise is of course positioned to provide the slickest buttoned up production – there is no slack in the system to think about more resources focusing on differentiation of the digital output. That differentiation is for the engagement specialists to concentrate on, helping enrich the experience for someone who is used to interacting with the rest of their media in a very different way. 

What does/should this engagement look like? 

This should be two way interaction across the premium video content on the partner’s platform, don’t rent the audience somewhere else, own it, gamify it, spark competition amongst your viewers, let them earn points, play against their friends and personalize the experience. This is real engagement – so much more than the second it takes to like a post that’s on a platform that is not yours, and the benefits grow with the increased dwell time. Learn about this audience at a granular level, serve them tailored marketing opportunities, let their loyalty unlock rewards and ultimately even let them steer the programming in the directions that they want it to go. This then truly breaks the fourth wall, the viewing experience has gone from passive to active but it’s not disparate, it’s focused on the source of the conversation and has opened up interest amongst the widest demographic base it can. 

In Conclusion

The audience feels connected to the Sport, in a similar way to the rest o the content they consume. This audience needs to be looked after today, because if they are not nurtured and understood they ill not be around tomorrow, and that i a big problem to everyone in the industry.