In a world where content gets more and more important Sports has a special role. Live sports remain an anchor for broadcasters, although we are seeing highlights (especially goals) grow in importance as social content. Axos report on the new players gaining ground, with DAZN doubling subscribers and ESPN+ seems to be doing well too. The Athletic has hoovered up talent in the UK and this interview with the founder is good insight into building modern media brands.
Evidence of the rising value of sports comes from PE firm Silver Lake investing $500m into Man City owners — and the deal was brokered by Talent Agent Ari Emanuel
The logic behind these high valuations is the belief that more viewers will watch the games online and it’s no surprise that UEFA are exploring a move into Champions League streaming. Just as Netflix and Disney have gone DTC, the football model of selling to broadcasters looks to be reaching a ceiling. And the ultimate prize is pay to view games; My Sky subscription is good value in December with 3 Leeds games but big clubs — like Leeds — know they would profit from going direct.
I am convinced that Live Selling is going to be huge for DTC. QVC is an amazing business and in China we are seeing this take off — although sometimes there are problems. With discovery for DTC a huge issue, could this be a solution? Is anyone doing this in the UK or US?
Transition between China and the West isn’t always easy though — Net a Porter have ditched their Yoox platform — to focus on Mr Porter and Net a Porter in a partnership with Alibaba
As we all accept that an over reliance on ads for customer acquisition is a problem an Adweek article makes the good (if obvious) point that 1st party data has to be a priority. But 1st party data is something you earn from existing customers and organic/ paid traffic — so it’s no easy win. The increasing focus on content from commerce brands is the smart strategy.
The need for fresh thinking on driving customers means we see new players emerging. DTC Dons Red Antler have expanded their services to include performance marketing — but with an interesting model that aims to assist brands to build their own capabilities. And the VC arguing that Shopify should add an ad model goes deeper on their thinking — very interesting
Instagram see the $$$ in DTC and their CheckOut Instagram service is growing fast; this piece goes into some detail on how it is working. Research firm LightShed count 78 brands using it. One big problem here is that this approach doesn’t give you any 1st party data — Instagram know the customer and the brand gets just enough to fulfill the purchase. Google Shopping Ads are getting better too — this is a good guide to making the most of them.
Solving discovery is driving a variety of different approaches — and Trouva, an online marketplace for independent boutiques has raised significant funds. But how much of that goes on driving customer acquisition? Could a smarter way to grow be helping those offline stores find and stock some of the emerging DTC brands? There is still a real hunger for physical retail and everyone is looking to test it out. The go to guys here are still Appear Here.
The Guardian have a good long piece on how online shopping is reshaping the world as home delivery booms.
Bytedance / TikTok
Having driven their phenomenal growth with a big — expensive — ad campaign Tiktok owners Bytedance are looking to borrow more money — another $2bn — for their warchest. Their plans for a music service will be expensive, so maybe that’s the purpose?
They are doing quite well for ad revenue within China — now ahead of rivals Tencent and Baidu. In the West their moves to attract influencers seem to be paying off.
Spotify is spending freely on podcast IP and exclusives from Hollywood stars — and Obama.This long piece from the Hollywwod Reporter is a good look at how Danel Ek sees podcasts.
But despite all the noise, examples or case studies on Voice are hard to come by — econsultancy ask why?
The IAB have a good report on the UK connected TV market. It’s really comprehensive with contributions from many firms already active in the space.
The issue of creative is considered and so is the opportunity for new formats. The YouTube work from Unskippable Labs is useful learning here and this round up of 5 principles deserves attention.
One of the best sources of data on newTV is US firm Moffett Nathanson. Their presentation at the Code conference this week is full of fascinating data. One key point is that Sports sustains the old broadcasters and their bundle model.
We mentioned the other week that the ICO had switched out their consent CMP from something like the ubiquitous Quantcast one (click OK to everything ) to one that is rather stricter — setting analytic cookies as optional and the default is switched off. A Freedom of Information request has found that the drop off in consent since this change is 90%
The next missive from the ICO is due on December 20, so things may become clearer then. If everyone else is to follow the ICO example cookies are essentially over. And Firefox have stated they will block the new IAB identity initiative. Google will let publishers limit ad personalisation to meet the California Privacy rules which kick in on January 1st.
So coming back from the Christmas holidays we will see a radically different environment. Who is ready? Maybe the solution is something like Brave
The one bit of tech I just don’t get is driverless cars. Whilst they are attractive to tech firms and investors I don’t see any consumer problem being solved. If there was a desire to avoid driving surely ride sharing would be huge, but most drivers seem to like their own personal space. Perhaps Uber can jettison their drivers and make money with autonomous vehicles but will everyone else give up their cars. I think not.
The FT has a long piece on the various issues and the doubts that are emerging. But nowhere in the article does it mention the people that the industry assume will give up their cars. Asymco argues that $80bn has gone up in smoke chasing this enigma.
VC Alex Danco looks at cars through the model of Bundles — and nails it when is says that kids remain the use case for having your own car
Good retort to / debunking of the WSJ story suggesting Google was interfering with their algorithms to change search results.
How Facebook helped the Trump election. I am sharing this long WSJ piece as it shows that the benefit to the campaign was less about Cambridge Analytica and more about good old Facebook best practice — done at scale and at pace.
VC Chamath Palihapitiya is back with some interesting thinking on Google and Travel
Finally…..next Friday is the excellent TBD event and we have some discounted tickets for the extra special evening session — just £20 (down from £50) to hear speakers from ‘Be More Pirate’, Mellor & Smith, Alibaba, GrantTree and Groovy Gecko
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