-Bridging Linear and Web Video Platforms
Anthem Sports & Entertainment is a modern content company that creates channels and programming for what CEO Leonard Asper calls “passionate communities” – ie niche targeted audiences. Multi-platform distribution is an important piece of Anthem Sports’ business.
“We build linear channels that are high quality HD content that you can watch, and that are also hedged to come into the new world – the VoD space,” Asper said, speaking on a panel at CES 2016 this month.
Anthem’s channels include Fight Network, FNTSY Sports Network, which Asper calls the CNBC of fantasy sports, and Pursuit Channel, a hunting and fishing channel.
Anthem’s Fight Network: niche audience
The company is looking to add a racing channel and an extreme sports channel to its portfolio in the future. “All very targeted channels for communities that will consume that content on any platform at any time, and who will engage with that content and produce their own content,” he said.
“Each channel is able to be completely broken up into VoD content on any platform, linear or OTT,” he added. “Every piece of that content can be broken up into one-minute, two-minute, three-minute pieces for digital, so YouTube clips, Vine, wherever they are.”
Take Anthem’s FNTSY Sports Network. The content is produced and programmed for a linear pay TV channel.“We give the channel to cable provider, they pay a subscription fee, we then take the ratings and viewership numbers and try to sell them to advertisers,” Asper said. But Anthem also uses repackages that content into video assets for Web-delivered content apps. “The same network is on Xbox as an app,” Asper said. “It’s not the streaming network, it’s select shows uploaded every day right after we shoot them, so they’re timely. It’s also a channel on Roku, it’s an app and Apple TV 4, it’s a YouTube channel; it then gets broken down into two-minute clips [for other digital products].”
Some of the content, particularly the short-form clips, are also sold to the sports leagues themselves to appear on across their digital properties and Websites; the short-form content is also licensed to publishers such as USA Today that are looking to integrate more video into their Websites.
It’s a perfect example of how to leverage video across linear and Web platforms to reach scale with long-tail, niche content. “We don’t get a lot of viewing on the fantasy sports channel but across all the digital platforms, it’s significant,” he said. “We’re effectively becoming a distribution agency for advertisers. We’re taking small numbers and lower-cost content and actually getting into meetings with brands that we have no business meeting, by spreading the content out across platforms.”
In terms of monetization, Anthem Sports’ content is sponsored, ad-supported, or licensed.
The audience that Anthem builds around its content affords advertisers a place to reach extremely targeted, relevant audiences. “When you’re really targeted you can sell products to people, and you can sell advertising,” he said, without needing to reach large scale audiences.
The company does offer a few very niche subscription products, however. Asper pointed to a fantasy sports newsletter the company publishes: “It’s premium…
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