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Sports and Social Media

July 1st, 2012 4:01PM by Brendon Kensel

Sports fans are increasingly consuming scores, news and athlete updates via social media. Globally there are over 460 million fans who ‘like’ sports teams on Facebook and almost 100 million fans ‘follow’ teams on Twitter according to Sports Fan Graph.

JockTalk” width=

JockTalk is a sports social network created by professional athletes for fans.

In 2012 twenty-six percent of sports fans will use social media to follow leagues, teams and players according to a survey conducted by Perform sports media group. Twenty-two percent of sports fans polled indicated that they use connected mobile devices to get breaking sports news. A study by brand engagement firm GMR Marketing found that 41% of sports fans check Twitter and Facebook for breaking sports news compared to just 13% for television.

Sports fans are frustrated with the lack of social engagement tools available to them to engage with their favorite athletes. Professional athletes have been adopting social media en masse, particularly Twitter, but athletes are seeking better engagement with fans and opportunities to monetize the social media content they are currently giving away for free. Twitter is great for one-way communication, but engagement falls short for what is possible with athletes and fans. Twitter recently launched a new effort to promote hastags in sports, such as the hashtag #NASCAR. These hashtags offer the ability to better curate conversations.

A new sports social network, JockTalk, facilitates deeper engagement between fans and professional athletes. JockTalk enables fans to easily interact with their favorite athletes, and get rewarded for being a great fan. Athletes can answer questions from fans and can quickly sort top fans by market. All text, photo and video posts on JockTalk are automatically published to both Twitter and to Facebook. JockTalk is built into the ecosystem of these social media leaders and is complimentary, not competitive. The platform also enables athletes to generate income and awareness for the causes they support, and easily engage their fans in new and impactful ways. JockTalk features professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, PGA, Olympic sports and several international sports leagues. Athletes include Paul Pierce, Kevin Love, Wes Welker, Warren Moon, Heath Bell, Aaron Boone, Ryan Kesler, and Matt Carle. “I am excited to use JockTalk so I can more easily communicate and share content with my fans,” said Matt Carle, NHL defenseman for the Philadelphia Flyers. “JockTalk enables me to generate income for the causes I care about and facilitates deeper engagement with my fans through tools such as fan rankings and a Q&A section.”

JockTalk launched in beta in April and an iPhone application will be released in the summer of 2012. Game on!

What to Expect from Social Media in 2012

January 2nd, 2012 9:42AM by Brendon Kensel

Social media is experiencing exponential growth in the U.S. and worldwide and this growth is expected to continue in 2012. Social networking sites now reach 82% of the world’s online population and account for about 20% of time spent online according to comScore. In the U.S. 98% of the online population uses social media. As mass social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are nearing saturation points in the U.S. it is leading to new user behavior and new social platforms that are focused on particular topics and market segments.

Mobile Social Activities Among Mobile Social Networking Users” width=

Source: comScore, December 2011

Social media user behavior seems to be changing as saturation points near. People are becoming less engaged in creating content and instead are increasingly sharing existing content according to a recent report from GlobalWebIndex. The report notes that a huge exception is the growing propensity for consumers to post images and video to their social media profiles. Consumers are also increasingly using mobile devices to access social networking sites. comScore notes that in 2011 80% of consumers used their smartphones to check posts by people they knew, and 70% posted a status.

The lifecycle of social media often follows a path of from niche market to mass market. Facebook went from targeting college students to allowing the general market to sign-up. MySpace has gone full circle by launching as a social network focused on the music niche, morphing into mass market site, and now returning to its music roots under the stewardship of Justin Timberlake. LinkedIn is a scaled example of a social network that launched with a focus on a niche audience, business professionals, and retains that focus today.

As mass social media platforms mature it is expected that new entrants will emerge and focus on particular topics and market segments. While Google’s G+ is focused on the mass market, consumers appear to be picking their favorite platform and spending their social media time there. Consumers also appear to be seeking out specialized social communities. Niche audiences of highly active participants will continue to emerge as consumers seek more tailored experiences and advertisers look for specific audiences.

New niche social media sites to keep an eye on in 2012 include: Chime.in, an interest network, where people share, connect with others, and build communities around their favorite topics; Pinterest, an online pin board to organize, share and follow collections of shared items and interests; and Jock Talk, a social media publishing platform that provides professional athletes and fans a single location to post conversations, videos and photos, and enable richer engagement.

Smartphones will also play a large in how consumers use social media in 2012. While Facebook and Twitter are forces in mobile social networking there a few emerging companies worth noting. These include: Path and Milk with its first app, Oink. Several additional specialized mobile networks that will ride on top of Facebook are expected to appear this year.

Social media will be fun to watch and socialize about in 2012!

What to Expect from Digital Media in 2010

December 31st, 2009 5:06PM by Brendon Kensel

Most entrepreneurs and operators of digital media and marketing firms are glad 2009 is over and they are looking forward to an improved 2010. Though mid-2009, U.S. digital advertising revenues were down 5.3% from the same period in 2008 according to the IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report. As of the third-quarter 2009 Forrester Research was forecasting a 13.7% increase in 2010 for digital advertising revenues. Key segments that will likely drive growth in 2010 include:

Content Platforms – We will likely continue to see content aggregators grow both organically and through acquisition in 2010. But the real growth will come through the continued advancement of automation technologies that will produce content people are seeking and deliver advertisements that reach desired audiences. Large-scale players include Demand Media and Internet Brands (NASDAQ: INET). A smaller, emerging player includes Mail.com Media Corporation (MMC), which was founded by Jay Penske in 2004.

Mobile – Yes, this category has made the list of “emerging trends” each year for the past decade, but what was not in the aughts will begin in the tens. U.S. mobile marketing expenditures are expected to grow from $1.7 billion in 2009 to $2.2 billion in 2010 according to the Mobile Marketing Association. Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) recent aggressiveness in the mobile space, whether its pending acquisition of mobile ad network Admob or the launch of its Android mobile operating platform, will have significant ripple effects in 2010. Combined with Apple’s iPhone and RIM’s BlackBerry platforms, consumers are making a meaningful shift to smartphones which will allow advertisers to deliver more targeted advertisements.

Social Engagement – This is the bucket for social games, networks and other points of engagement. While social gaming company Zynga is a great example, there are multiple emerging companies with innovative approaches. A couple of examples include digital agency Zugara’s augmented reality games/applications for marketers, and mobile social network FourSquare that awards points to consumers for broadcasting their location to a network of friends via their mobile device.

The next decade should be fun.

Trends in Digital Media Advertising Panel Discussion

November 1st, 2008 1:52PM by Brendon Kensel
Trends in Digital Media Advertising Panel

From left to right: Brendon Kensel, Managing Partner of Kensel & Co.; Peter Horan, CEO of Goodmail Systems; Safa Rashtchy, former Managing Director & Senior Internet Analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co.; Richard Rosenblatt, founder, Chairman & CEO of Demand Media; and Peter Adderton, Founder & CEO of Agency 3.0

This summer I chaired a panel event that was focused on trends in digital media advertising that was hosted by Pepperdine’s Graziadio Alumni Network of Orange County. The panelists included: Peter Adderton, founder and CEO of Agency 3.0; Peter Horan, CEO of Goodmail Systems; and Richard Rosenblatt, founder, Chairman and CEO of Demand Media. The panel was moderated by Safa Rashtchy, former Managing Director and Senior Internet Analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co.

The shift of advertising budgets from traditional to digital media is expected to drive digital advertising revenues in the U.S. to $42.0 billion by 2011. With a convergence of media underway, advertisers face the challenge of identifying effective advertising models for emerging forms of digital media whether delivered by computer, mobile device or digital television. Despite the already staggering spend Safa Rashtchy’s opening question for the panelists was, “Why isn’t digital advertising growing even faster?”

Richard Rosenblatt offered a social media-centric view. He viewed social networks as, “the best use of the web,” and marveled at how much time users invest in social media tools. The former MySpace.com chairman, who helped sell the company to News Corp., pointed out that despite numerous emerging user-generated social platforms and outlets, a lack of great programming on the web still prevails. “Ninety-nine percent of it is junk; it’s your dog walking backwards,” he joked.

Peter Adderton focused on his vision of the three screens – television, computers and mobile devices. However, the mobile pioneer and founder of Boost Mobile and Amp’d Mobile felt that, “Mobile will ultimately deliver the most personal interaction point with consumers.”

Peter Horan felt that digital advertising to date has not always played to the strengths of digital channels. He stated that the web is overspent right now, and that low barriers to entry cause a bevy of marketers to try to deliver the same type of “many to many” messages that are more effective on broadcast channels. The former CEO of IAC Media & Advertising held up search as the more effective approach to digital saying that, “Search was a new way of distributing attention.”

The panel shared another reason that digital advertising hasn’t grown even faster – fear. Rosenblatt noted that advertisers are still afraid of making a mistake. “Media buyers don’t get fired for buying (in traditional channels).” Adderton said that in allocating ad budgets to digital channels, there is still “Distrust among advertisers that you’re (just) buying traffic.”

Rashtchy, whose 400+ page report “The User Revolution - The New Advertising Ecosystem and the Rise of the Internet as a Mass Medium” is still seminal in the industry, brought the evening to a fitting, forward-looking conclusion by citing emerging trends.

A video of the event can be found here: http://bschool.pepperdine.edu/images/alumni/events/digitalmedia/digital.wmv