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STEVE RUSSELL: There are different tiers within sports, and direct-to-consumer means particular things for each of those. For top-tier sports, rights and relationships with broadcasters and major platforms are a huge part of the business model. Direct-to-consumer will often involve engaging with the superfan, and augmenting existing revenue deals with broadcasters and platforms. But lower-tier, niche sports require something different. The question is: how do we reach that small fan base? The answer used to be, they had to physically go and watch the game. However, direct-to-consumer means you can reach a narrow segment of fans, geographically spread over a large area. In reaching them, you are helping those superfans engage with their sport – and can monetise that. People passionate about these niche sports – like curling or triathlon – are probably of reasonably high income, or may have families in some instances and are willing to pay to watch. NEAL ROMANEK: What if I’m a niche sport? What would be some good strategies to consider in developing my platform?

NEAL ROMANEK: What about using social media platforms like YouTube instead?

STEVE RUSSELL: There is a place for both YouTube and social – they allow you to reach a large audience. But that audience won’t be on your own branded platform, and you can’t control whether advertising from competitors will be next to you. Also, there’s limited ability to get data back. The smart thing is to use those platforms for what they are good at: reach. But the sweet spot is to monetise your audience, mine data and expand brand experience all at the same time. You’re better off doing that in the closed environment of your platform, and using social as the funnel to take people to that place.

communications in areas like legal, finance, banking and insurance. There used to be a push to put everything on social. If you were going to livestream or upload video, it would be on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, etc. But now, there’s a shift back, as Steve is saying. You use those social media channels to position content and drive traffic to your own play channel, turning them into leads – or sharing other premium content and engaging them to start a business relationship. Many reports conclude that audience attention span on social platforms is a matter of seconds. If someone says, ‘Viktor, look at this valuable training session, we want to promote our consulting

services to you’, and I click a YouTube link, within ten



seconds I’ll be watching the ice hockey highlights advertised to me. But if they direct me to their own play channel with their own content instead, they can lead me to the next step. I could send an email saying, ‘you look like a great consulting firm, can we talk about bringing you on to this new project?’ STEVE RUSSELL: The point about distraction is really important. That is the whole point of YouTube – to maintain your attention by feeding the newest thing.

VIKTOR UNDERWOOD: Creating business comms is similar, apart from monetising your customers. We work a lot with business-to-business


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