When it comes to an engaged audience, die-hard sports fans are arguably the most switched-on and engaged viewers an advertiser could ask for. Ever gotten into a footy discussion with a Magpies fan? You know what we’re talking about, then.
It’s this sentiment that makes Foxtel Media’s sports subscription service Kayo the powerhouse Streaming Video on Demand (SVOD) service that it is, and one of the reasons why advertisers are sprinting to have their brands integrated onto the platform.
In partnership with ThinkPremiumDigital, B&T is exploring how premium content — which delivers a 51 per cent increase in online sales conversion compared to run of the internet, according to research by Lumen UK — drives better business results for advertisers, the ultimate goal.
The undisputed reality is that engaged audiences are the driving force of business outcomes, and with Kayo’s 600,000 strong subscriber base (that’s continually growing, mind you), that’s a lot of engaged eyeballs for advertisers.
To get the lowdown on Kayo in 2020 and beyond, including a recently announced game-changing ‘Freemium’ model, B&T had a chat with executive director of agency sales Nev Hasan.
Sport is a huge part of Aussie culture. One could argue it’s the heart and soul of our nation. Even people who don’t typically enjoy watching sport get swept away in the madness and celebration of footy finals, or the excitement of the Bathurst 1000. So, it’s not surprising that Kayo subscribers are spending nearly six hours a week engaging with Kayo while watching up to six different sports a month.
Hasan says: “They’re not just an AFL audience engaged on the AFL fixtures and games. They’re engaged in sport holistically. We have an incredibly engaged customer base with users spending, on average, 5.7 hours a week across sports.”
And, it’s not just the live games that keep subscribers engaged. In one weekend, the Kayo team delivers more than 700 hours of live sport across 280 or more live events. Earlier this month, Kayo exceeded 164 million hours of content consumed since launch.
Hasan says: “The subscriber base is growing because the content library and the engagement is so sticky, and also there’s an amazing team at Kayo that delivers this content in such a seamless way.”
At Foxtel’s recent ‘Showcase’ event, the business announced Kayo will release some games and events from behind the paywall in a monumental strategy change. Free sport? Yes, please!
The new Freemium model allows non-subscribers to gain access to some sports, such as the Supercars, which will ultimately allow advertisers to reach more viewers.
Hasan says: “The Freemium model is a simple strategy to get users to experience the platform and see the value it can provide. This, ultimately, drives subscriber growth because once you trial the product, you can see the value proposition. The likelihood is, we’ll see a range of those Freemium users upgrade and take the package. We’re confident they will see the value.”
This is not only a smart move for Kayo but also a game-changer for advertisers. Games that don’t sit behind the paywall will open advertisers up to a much larger user base.
“For advertisers, this provides greater reach to then drive business outcomes,” says Hasan.
There are a range of ways advertisers can tap into the opportunities presented on Kayo, and they’re all scalable. The opportunities are also tiered depending on the level of integration and level of commitment advertisers are looking for.
“From a standard perspective, we’ve launched dynamic ad insertion into the live feed. Of course, you never get ads on live sport during play. It’s a key part of the Kayo proposition – providing the best user experience and, subsequently, a powerful advertising experience too,” says Hasan.
“So, what we do is we replace the broadcast feed that carries TV broadcast ads and dynamically insert digital ads into the feed instead.”
Kayo also offers its advertising partners deeper integration through content partnerships and bespoke content that’s then integrated onto the platform. There are also opportunities around naming rights.
“There’s a big range of options for advertisers that keep customers at the heart. Whether you want to do tactical TVCs, drop your brand message in front of live sport, or look at deeper brand partnerships with Kayo; there’s something there for everyone,” says Hasan.
From day dot, Kayo’s client results have been “very positive”, said Hasan, with some of the core advertising partners being foundation partners coming on board at the platform’s inception in late November 2018.
“It’s a massive achievement,” says Hasan. “But what I take out of it is, these partners are investing more into the platform as the platform grows, because they see the value in the Kayo audience.
So, which sports do Aussies go mad for? Which are the fan-favourites? While you might make the assumption AFL or NRL would be most popular, looking at the total landscape actually drives the best results.
“Kayo opens up sporting opportunities outside those key marquee sports. If you’re looking at reaching and engaging audiences across sports, you shouldn’t limit yourself to just one. We can do deep integrations on popular codes like NRL, AFL or cricket, but there’s so much content and sport on Kayo, the biggest opportunities lie outside just focusing on one or two marquee codes. For example, we’ve streamed more than 550,000 hours of content for Bathurst 1000 alone,” says Hasan.
Speaking to how Kayo keeps and retains its premium customers, Hasan said it’s all about value.
“That’s the big difference between Kayo and the duopoly – the duopoly has content out there that is free, but when you’re a customer actively paying for a service, you are more engaged. You value it more. Paying customers demand the best in coverage and the best experience,” he says.
“Naturally, if you’ve got an audience that is highly engaged, paying for a service and spending hours and hours on that platform, you should be driving better advertising outcomes versus just a broad sweeping target you may get with the duopoly.”
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