2nd Screen Summit: Monetizing Sports Requires Holistic Approach to Advertising

The second screen is an exciting new frontier for sports-content creators and consumers alike. More video than ever is available on more screens than ever. However,  for leagues and broadcasters, monetizing these various platforms has proved an intricate challenge.

At 2nd Screen Sports Summit in New York, (from left) YuMe's Victoria Steinberg, SportsData's Benn Gurton, NFL's Vishal Shah, Visiware's Colas Overkott, and Twitter's Mike Park discussed monetization of digital platforms.

At 2nd Screen Sports Summit in New York, (from left) YuMe’s Victoria Steinberg, SportsData’s Benn Gurton, NFL’s Vishal Shah, Visiware’s Colas Overkott, and Twitter’s Mike Park discussed monetization of digital platforms.

At the recent 2nd Screen Summit: Sports in New York City, key players in the digital space discussed ways to monetize digital platforms. The general consensus was that the key is cross-platform promotion, enabling major leagues and broadcasters to get the most out of the second screen without alienating their traditional broadcast-television sponsors.

“It’s very important that we think holistically about sports advertising,” says Seth Ladetsky, SVP, digital ad sales, Turner Sports. “Wherever the content goes, [the sponsor] needs to follow. So Coke Zero is an official sponsor of the NCAA Tournament. They need to be a part of that experience at the game, at FanFest, on television, on the app, on digital products, surrounding the event everywhere it goes. What we’ve seen is that, as we stream more video on our mobile products, people are consuming on the handset, on the tablet, and on the PC incrementally to television.”

Protecting the traditional broadcaster is essential for the most obvious of reasons: TV advertising dollars.

“The king, to some extent, is still TV advertising. There’s still billions of dollars spent on TV advertising,” says Colas Overkott, CEO, Visiware, a Paris-based second-screen–design firm. “But what the advertising world has to grasp is that, if people are using the second screen, they are probably using it during the advertising break. They are looking at stats and video and everything else. Advertisers have to be sure that their advertising is complementary to what’s going on on the TV.”

Fans’ voracious appetite for sports content challenges the traditional-broadcast advertising model. Where the concern used to be that viewers would head to the bathroom during valuable commercial time, now they are turning their attention to their phones or tablets for stats, Twitter feeds, and complementary apps.

Broadcasters are protecting against this by creating multiplatform ad integration that keeps the biggest sponsors in front of an event’s biggest fans.

“In our context, the distinction between traditional media and digital media is rapidly evaporating,” says Vishal Shah, VP, media strategy and business development, NFL. “We’re delivering content via an online experience at a very specific endpoint.”

Shah emphasized that it is important to understand that every platform — be it Android phone, iPad, Roku box, or any other device — offers a different experience for the user and that digital advertising is not a one-size-fits-all philosophy.

“These are unique experiences where what we don’t want to do is make that experience uniform,” he says. “What exists on NFL.com might not be a good experience on a gaming console. So, for us, it’s very important to have platform and content ubiquity.”

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