This week's inaugural Cynopsis Sports Summit in NYC featured an all-star panel line-up. Here's my highlight reel:
NASCAR Keynote speaker CMO Steve Phelps outlined the company's recent strategic transformation:
1. Strategic reviews identified a key challenge: new (read younger) fans were not "inheriting" the older generation's loyalty to NASCAR. Making big investments in digital and social media as one strategy to address.
2. Realized fans at tracks were less plugged in to the race than those at home. So installing fiber at tracks so fans can engage more fully during the race (e.g., get data pushed from individual cars).
State of the Sports Industry Panel with sports execs from CBS, Turner, NBC, Fox and Univision on why sports is so hot - and expensive:
3. Fans want to watch it live to avoid hearing sports scores via social media. Advertiser value live viewing. Think "DVR" proof.
4. Social media buzz drives huge awareness of programming.
5. iTV engagement opportunities (social media and stats) are a natural fit for sports, "the original reality programming".
6. Penetration of HD sets makes it great to watch at home.
7. While TV Everywhere means never having to miss a game.
Using Digital Content to Drive Audiences with media strategy execs from ESPN, NFL, Turner, NBC and Yahoo!:
8. Turner / CBS college basketball partnership exceeded expectations. Live streaming app for the first time charged $3.99 (see my blog 3 Points on March Madness) and introduced authentication so saw "modestly fewer viewers" but those viewers watched more across more platforms. Tablet + mobile streaming consumption equaled laptop (vs. one-third of usage LY).
9. ESPN remains enthusiastic about its Watch ESPN app but acknowledged that a substantially smaller number than the 8mm who downloaded actually authenticated. "No one knows what their cable provider user name and password is." Agreed, as I pointed out in my US Open Tennis blog.
10. NFL championed Fantasy Football as one of the original social media platforms and a key driver for getting fans to watch games they wouldn't otherwise tune in to.
I'll cover the afternoon sessions in an upcoming blog and include some key points on t-commerce.
Will Keller advises executives on interactive television marketing and t-commerce strategy and execution. For more iTV insights, subscribe to Inside the Screen, his monthly summary of the latest iTV trends and strategies.