Thursday Is For The Future At The NAB Show
“We can continue to create content, but it will be about creating loyalty that dictates how and if users consume it.”
The final day of the 2019 NAB Show in Las Vegas was all about what is on the horizon. Two panels I attended really stood out to me and I want to share my takeaways with you.
The first was about how mobile broadband can enhance the in-car experience for radio listeners. The NAB’s VP of advanced engineering David Leyer showed examples of in-car apps that he and his team have developed with the input of both the auto industry and NAB members.
Nearly every car manufacturer has their own proprietary platform and all of those platforms can support apps. David and his team have been sponsoring workshops to get auto industry executives and broadcast executives together to talk about what each one needs from those apps.
His presentation showed examples of radio apps that could provide more than just your typical station information. They can read the host’s Twitter feed to the driver, they can dial a call-in number directly, they can show embedded, actionable ads sold by the broadcaster.
All of it is possible because of mobile broadband, and all of it can lead to a better listener experience and more station revenue.
DTS Radio is a product already available in Europe and will come to the US next year. It turns any radio station into a Sirius XM experience, because when a driver leaves a station’s over-the-air range, DTS will give him or her the option to continue listening to the station via stream.
It doesn’t open up a new world of possibilities. It just makes the existing possibilities easier to take advantage of. That means it opens up a whole new audience for broadcasters and sellers to take advantage of.
The other panel that stood out was about the way brands engage customers and create communities on social media. It was lead by Countable founder and CEO Bart Myers, and it admittedly was at least 50% an advertisement for Countable, an interactive platform that creates communities for brands and celebrities that allow them to bypass a 3rd party social network.
Bart’s reasoning for developing the Countable site and app was interesting though. In the last 8 years, Facebook has decreased a user’s reach to its total audience from 26% down to 1%. Bart saw a company that was more interested in pushing its new products and building its own audience than innovating to remain a valuable business tool.
The other interesting point Bart made about Facebook was the real lack of value that any brand engagement actually has on its platform. What do likes actually do for a business? A like doesn’t mean that the user consumed your content.
What Bart is pushing for is social networks that exist on the brand’s own platform, whether it is embedded in their site or a new social site developed specifically for one brand. His presentation focused on how interaction that has value can lead to deeper engagement and brand loyalty. He used an example that his company had developed for famous attorney Erin Brockovich, who has become an outspoke activist for the victims of the California wild fires.
On her site, users can click a link to directly email their state and federal representatives. They can sign up for alerts and links to live videos whenever a bill related to wild fire relief is being discussed. It is truly a community of like-minded individuals that Brockovich now owns and can utilize for her next cause.
The future seems to be all about control. We can continue to create content, but it will be about creating loyalty that dictates how and if users consume it.
Dave Portnoy: I Trust Penn Entertainment as Much as Ever
“Dave Portnoy is still an employee of Penn Entertainment. However, he has said publicly that he is unsure if the arrangement will continue after his contract expires in 2025.”
Dave Portnoy may have had some public disagreements with Penn Entertainment, but he says that he still trusts the company to run Barstool. He took to Twitter earlier this week to dispel the myth that he is in a feud with the company.
“By the way everything I say or do nowadays is construed as me having beef with @PENNEntertain I 100% do not. Most of my net worth is still tied to $penn. The corporate woke overlord narrative is bullshit. They woulda never bought us in 1st place if that was true. I trust them now as much as when they bought us.”
Portnoy has not been shy about criticizing the company’s decision to fire Ben Mintz after Mintz said the n-word while reading rap lyrics. Several supporters, including Dana White, noted that it is the kind of decision that only happens when corporations take over creative enterprises.
Earlier this week, Dave Portnoy announced that he had hired Ben Mintz as the first employee of Brick Watch Company. Mintz was emotional in making the announcement. The decision was not made to stick it to Penn Entertainment according to Portnoy.
Penn first acquired a stake in Barstool in 2020. It invested $163 million at that time for a 36% stake. Earlier this year, it completed its acquisition, investing an addition $388 million for the remaining 62% of the company.
Dave Portnoy is still an employee of Penn Entertainment. However, he has said publicly that he is unsure if the arrangement will continue after his contract expires in 2025.
Multiple State Regulators Push Back on Effort to Legalize Gambling on WWE
“In March, Alex Sherman of CNBC reported that WWE had meetings with regulators in Colorado and Michigan.”
Despite speculation over allowing sports bettors to wager on WWE, there doesn’t appear to be much support at the state level to add it to sportsbook offerings.
Earlier this year, WWE officials had discussions with accounting firm Ernst and Young to secure pre-determined match outcomes in order to allow betting on events. But many states where sports betting is legal have restrictions on wagering on scripted events.
In March, Alex Sherman of CNBC reported that WWE had meetings with regulators in Colorado and Michigan.
“The Colorado Division of Gaming is not currently and has not considered allowing sports betting wagers on WWE matches. By statute, wagers on events with fixed or predicted outcomes or purely by chance are strictly prohibited in Colorado; this includes wagers on the Academy Awards,” Shannon Gray of the Colorado Division of Gaming told Sports Betting Dime.
In Ohio, the same rules apply. The Ohio Casino Control Commission has not fielded any requests to add WWE. Officials in Kansas haven’t received requests either by their residents.
Elsewhere, Maryland sees keeping WWE out of betting offerings as a way to keep the integrity of legal sports betting.
“Maryland’s sports wagering law and regulations prohibit forms of wagering that are contrary to public interest or unfair to bettors,” Seth Elkin of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency added. “We’ve determined that it is unfair to bettors and therefore not in the public’s interest to accept wagers on sports entertainment events that have scripted or predetermined outcomes, like professional wrestling.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Former Twitter Sports Boss TJ Adeshola Joins Arctos Partners
“We’ve been fortunate to have TJ as an Operating Advisor for the past three years, and we are thrilled to have him play a larger role as an Operating Partner.”
Less than two months after TJ Adeshola announced his exit from Twitter, he has resurfaced. Arctos Partners, a firm that he had been advising, named Adeshola an operating partner on Thursday.
In the new role, Adeshola will be much more hands-on with the firm, a private investment company that focuses its investments in the sports world. The firm says it focuses on unlocking “non-obvious opportunities long before others have noticed the market need or opportunity”.
TJ Adeshola’s digital sports marketing expertise will certainly come in handy with that.
“We believe TJ is an innovator in emerging digital and sports media trends, and his wealth of knowledge is a tremendous resource for our Arctos Operating Platform, the value-added capabilities we provide to our franchise partners,” Arctos’s Jordan Solomon said in a press release. “We’ve been fortunate to have TJ as an Operating Advisor for the past three years, and we are thrilled to have him play a larger role as an Operating Partner.”
During his decade with Twitter, Adeshola served as the Head of U.S. Sports Partnerships. His title was Head of Global Content Partnerships at the time of his exit.
He is credited with securing broad strategic partnerships with the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB and MLS as well as NASCAR, esports, college, and high school sports. He helped the platform grow the engagement and audience for those entities.
“I’m thrilled to expand my role with Arctos as an Operating Partner,” Adeshola added. “As the first investment firm to invest across multiple North American sports leagues, Arctos is an innovator and disruptor in the sports landscape. And true to form, the Arctos team recognizes the power of digital media as a tool for growth and an opportunity to drive value for its franchise partners.”