Speaker 1  

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the President and co founder for sports Innovation Lab, Josh Walker.


Josh Walker  

Hi everybody. Welcome back to the sport stage at CES. I want to set up this panel by letting you know that it's probably one of the more important conversations that we've had on this stage in the last few days here at CES, because there's no greater uncertainty in the future of the sports industry than what's happening with media and media rights when it comes to the sports industry. If you look at research that's been put out by PwC, they really break down the sports industry into the four major areas where they make money. And the biggest area and the area that's kept this industry afloat for a very long time is meteorites. A lot of those long term deals are coming to exploration, a lot of the conversations about how do you split those rights? Where do those rights belong? Who gets to distribute that stuff, and digital platforms are disrupting the business model. So this panel will explore those topics and that opportunity, as we think about the industry growing in the future, Julian Mitchell will be our moderator. He's what he describes as a futurist, and if you look at his bio, it's pretty easy to believe he's been a writer for Forbes IQ labs and beats by Dre, welcome to the stage and have a good panel man.


David Katz  

My name is David Katz. I mean, the Vice President of digital for Fox Sports. So everything you see on the app and the website and social media content that we produce, and all the live game streaming that you see, definitely falls under my group. And I will echo what Jeff said 20 plus years in the digital sports business. This is an incredibly dynamic time for us. And there's a lot of new business models being played with right now. There's a lot of new ancillary businesses that are now really truly digital sports businesses that I'm just teasing now. But we will talk about more and looking forward to chatting with you, everybody here.


Laura Froelich  

Great. Hi, everyone. I am Laura Froelich, and I am head of content partnerships at twitter. So my team and I work with premium rights holders all over the world, to bring their content to Twitter to enrich all of the incredible conversations that people are having on our platform. It is not only I think the best job at Twitter but the best job in the world. I also won't buck the trend. I will also agree that this is the most exciting time that I've seen in the industry and my many, many years in it. So excited to dig in and talk about it.


David Katz  

Well, I think that was the first question I had for you is when we talk about streaming, what do we mean? Right? So if we're talking about the video landscape in general, there's a lot of different ways you're able to serve the sports fan and at the end of the day, this is all about the fan and connecting The points all around the fan and making sure they have this full and experience as possible. So at Fox Sports for many of the biggest properties that you would watch on TV, we are the rights holder. So we have the case of streaming the actual live game rights. And that is kind of the center point of everything that we do. But that's not enough. So we have to surround that and amplify that content with a variety of experiences. So we think of it in a pre game in game and post game mindset. And the variety of content that we're producing is both on our own platforms, but we do an enormous amount of production for platforms like Twitter. So it's really about surrounding the fan and really understanding what are they looking for the most. And I think we are visual learners. We are visual medium, you see the success of a lot of platforms like Instagram that are really leading with visual. So streaming. To me, the video aspect of it is such a critical part of the overall experience. 


Laura Froelich  

Yeah, and I completely agree and I think that it's no secret to anyone that consumption patterns have changed. So well, you know, not everyone's going to necessarily watch an entire live streamed game on Twitter or any other platform for that matter, they might. Of course they do. But also, you know, they want to be able to catch up on highlights on the go, they want to see a compilation of all the great moments that have happened. You know, I will say that, you know, David and his team are fantastic partners of ours. And they did an incredible job Around the World Cup last year and the year before, in terms of really serving the fans with not only you know, live stream shows from the World Cup sites, but also highlights of all of the matches every single goal that was scored throughout those tournaments. And really, just like you said, surrounding the fans with a plethora of really diverse content, not just the streaming,


Geoff Reiss  

but I think one of the things that that's really important to talk about is during during kind of the first what I'd call street one.oh for lack of a better term, right? A lot of our energies were towards trying to drive drive towards streaming as an endpoint. Right. It was particularly amongst linear broadcasters, right? It's to say, we want to basically move this relationship we've had over traditional media onto digital platforms. And what's cool at the moment we're in right now. And the reason I think we're all jacked, right, is it streaming becomes the beginning of something right? streaming is a means of actually starting a way deeper level of conversations, whether they're socially driven or community driven, or whether they're forums interactive gaming, or whether it's a way of creating, you know, customized wakko volumetric capture displays a game. So the big leap that we're going to be taking over the course of the next couple of years. And it's because of this moment of convergence, the wide scale availability of 5g rights holders are leaning in, you know, folks are getting smarter about how to do this and audiences are expecting more streaming is now a starting point. It's not an endpoint that we're just trying to check off on a bunch of box and


Julian Mitchell  

that's what we were talking about before. Because when you think of it, if you say streaming to somebody in particular, depending on the age or the space that you're in, something may come to mind. You may think Netflix, you may think live sports, you may think mobile phone, like downloading an app. But streaming essentially is is you would think internet like Internet entertainment, that's high speed, on demand anywhere you want to go. So when you think of that all the players that are involved when we're talking about convergence, now have this blank canvas to your point to say now, what do we want the future of this space to look like? Because everybody has this access a disability to be involved in it.


Geoff Reiss  

Yet, with all due respect, right? We've been producing video PDFs, we've been producing watch only experiences that don't take advantage of the fact that we're actually conveying these on crazy, sophisticated and powerful devices. And the vast majority of the video consumption that happens right now isn't taking the advantage taking advantage of the incredible power, whether it be a laptop of tablet or phone We can do and that's that's where that's where things are going to start to get really interesting,


Julian Mitchell  

right? And you bring up that point to how does that then shift the business models because that's come up as well, right? Like you would think Twitter in a sense of being a social media platform that everybody knows from the beginning of how people tweet in interact, your platform, you think about media, in general, traditional media or even digital media, not necessarily being involved in this immersive future that we're talking about where you have to think about social media and fan engagement. How do your business models then change now, looking at this best opportunity, that is the future of streaming?


Laura Froelich  

Yeah, I mean, for us, our value proposition to our partners is to really be a complement to their business not competitive. So, you know, our objective is to understand what are their objectives and then let's create a partnership whereby we can achieve those objectives together, you know, we offer an audience that perhaps might not be found in as greater concentration on traditional media outlets. And so what we encourage our broadcasters to think about us as is, you can extend your audience, you you own the audience on Twitter around your content, let's think about that as a holistic value proposition in terms of the business model. So


David Katz  

Laura and her team because you mentioned the Women's World Cup, we had come to you. And yes, we had the highlights, we had all kinds of clips, we're going to make sure that you had a full complement of content on Twitter. But we had this idea where we wanted to do a live show, after every match day, and we wanted to actually make it talked about immersive and interactive. We wanted the fans to participate. I think that's one of the big differences between the platforms before and the platforms now is that the fans can actually play a role in this. So we wanted to do a fan driven show, let's call it for lack of a better term right? They were there after all the matches, which was the fans opportunity to ask questions of experts and analysts. And for us to tap into the full complement of the Fox Sports analysts portfolio. And these are not inexpensive things to do if you want to do it the right place we are in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the backdrop, we wanted to have the highest level of production value for it. And we were only able to do that because a partner like Twitter, said, we understand your vision, we want to support it. It was a collaborative sales effort, it was very successful. And that is why when you compare 2019 to 2015, in terms of overall Women's World Cup traffic, we were up over 700% between those four year periods of those those tournament So a really good example of how we're able to work with a partner who leverages an audience in a very different way and use their tools and technologies.


Julian Mitchell  

Right. And for you, Laura, you we spoke about how this CES is a special one because a year ago you were making an announcement about a special camera That was introduced that people can experience and now you have this multi year. Do you want to talk about that?


Laura Froelich  

Yeah. So you know, what we have seen in terms of the evolution of content on our platform is, you know, several years ago, we said to ourselves, there's all this incredible conversation happening on Twitter around sports. What if we had not only all that great conversation, but video highlights and official content from the premium partners who have the rights, that'll really enrich the conversation and drive it even further. So that's how we started with partners. And over the years, we grew that into even more and more formats, live streaming included. Now what we're seeing is because we have the ability to do this, because we have the audience that is in a lean forward mode and a participatory mode on our platform, we want to put the power of directing the content that they want to see into their hands. And so what we did last year, right here at CES as we announced our partnership with the NBA to live stream Second half of 20 NBA games on an ISO cam. So Twitter fans could vote leading up to the game on which player they wanted to see for the second half of that game. And then it was an incredible second hand, second screen experience to be able to say the player that we voted in, we can now see live streamed that player specifically as a compliment to what we're seeing on the broadcast. So fast forward to yesterday, we announced the renewal and expansion of that partnership with the NBA, it's a multi year deal. So we're extending the ISO cam, we've got even more regular season games, we've got playoff games, including the Western Conference Finals. We also have as a compliment to that hundreds and hundreds of clips every week. You know, like David was saying and and Jeff as well. It's it's not just about the streaming it's about that surrounding the experience with a diverse content slate. So you know, and what I also love about our partnership with end is they recognize that they are a global League, and that there is content that's going to resonate with fans all over the world. So we have global distribution rights of those highlights. And in certain countries, we have clips that are locally relevant in local language for those fans,


Julian Mitchell  

and we talked a lot about how this future is big for fans and for the platform's themselves, right in terms of engagement and audience. But Jeff, I want to throw it to you when we talk about sport, right? Like the NBA is global. We see it expanding to more countries we see sports that may not have been as popular as football or basketball in the states now becoming bigger. We see soccer becoming, you know, much bigger, but Jeff throwing it to you when you see that relationship between the growth of streaming and the growth of sport. Where do you see that going in terms of the entertainment value and the ability of sport to grow as the future of streaming grows as well.


Geoff Reiss  

Well, I listen, I think it's I think it's fundamental to the growth of our of our industry overall, right that that we do an increasingly better job of meeting fans on their terms. One of the most ambitious things that we've been involved in over the course of the last couple years is we have a comprehensive deal, the National Football League, and we make all local area games including David's and NBC and CBS is available to fans on the Yahoo Sports app, yahoo fantasy app. And the thing that's been really interesting about that is and we've seen tremendous growth, I mean, this year, gosh, one game, the Seahawk Niner game, I think drove something like 46 million minutes of consumption, which is, which is a big ass number is a good it was a really good game, technical term as a desert. But my point is to say that when we started doing this right there, there was a lot of speculation within the industry as to whether or not the NFL had some demo problems, right, where were younger fans turning away from the sport. And what we've seen is an audience that's significantly younger than what what the NFL is can Capturing on linear. And what it suggests is the NFL didn't have a demo problem that a use case problem preconditioning consumption of the NFL, on sitting your button, you're in your house, watching on a TV, maybe even having to pay a cable, TV subscription or satellite subscription along the way. Were preconditions that were blocking consumption from some of the most desirable demographic segments they wanted to reach. Take some of those barriers out, make football portable, make it easy to watch, no matter what you're doing on a Sunday, and boom, the numbers go crazy. So what it suggests right is, is that for a long time, programmers have gotten intellectually lazy. And they've done a really good job of pushing stuff out. I don't use a different word, pushing stuff out that they wanted audiences to want. And it just means that we have to be just driven in terms of being able to accommodate emerging expectations and consumers in terms of how they want to take stuff in. Right.


David Katz  

One thing I want to add to that is take a step back. Let's just talk about the power of sports. We've been talking about the power of streaming go back In 1998 of the top 100 shows on television, 25 of them were live sports. In 20 1888 of the top 100 shows on television, were live sports. I'm going back right before the holidays, the top 50 shows of this season, were all live sports on TV, and everyone says, Okay, well, that's a male dominated experience of the top 10 shows for women. nine of them were live sports. One of them was Messinger on Fox. That's my. So let's just start there as saying in the overall ecosystem of entertainment content, and this live versus on demand world that we're going into. Clearly sports is playing an even more dominant role than it ever has, and it's becoming incredibly valuable and that's because fans are demanding all these things. So as fans demands go beyond Okay, now you've given me the game, but I have an insatiable appetite for even more content and conversation around that. It is incumbent on the Like us and listening to all the analysts and experts out there to try to create products that keep pushing the industry forward. And and that's really why I think this industry is so exciting right now it's so dynamic is because we don't know what the next five to 10 years are going to look like in terms of business models and the rights deals and all the things that you're asking about. And we're not going to answer outside of that the product has to evolve. And you talk about this really powerful device in your, in your pocket now. Even that device, as powerful as it is, is limited in terms of what you and I and Laura are able to do with it today. But in five years from now, it's going to be a different world in terms of the types of activities we can bring to it. So that's why it's a middle business and creativity in these roles that I think is really fun.


Julian Mitchell  

And so what are the new metrics then of success or how are you measuring what does well or what is something that's successful versus not because I think a lot of it is experiment. To you have big sports brands like the NFL, the NBA that have so much equity over time, that they can use that to say, Well, we know people sit down and watch it. So as long as we have our core fan base, we don't necessarily need to experiment. So what are the new metrics or ways


Laura Froelich  

they have equity over time, but no one should be resting on their laurels right now because everything is changing. So everyone has to work really hard to to your point, identify the KPIs of that relate to how audiences are changing and for us you know, it really our KPIs, like I said earlier, our KPIs are our partners a KPIs so and each one is different, but you know, they they range from, you know, how many folks can we can we reach that are outside of our traditional demographics, or can we, for example, we live stream, the first hour and a half to two hours of every PGA Tour tournament and what they use Twitter for is to market their PGA Tour live Ott app. So, you know, they measure, you know, subscriptions and how much those are growing. And so it it really it varies. But overall, you know, it's it's understanding that the audiences are changing and creating the KPIs that are relevant to that in light of, you know, nothing, nothing is the same as it was. So let's, let's keep moving forward. Yeah.


Julian Mitchell  

And even when you said shows, it makes you think, if you say shows to anybody, you think, obviously, TV, you watch it, but now the formats, you know, streaming has completely broken up and fragmented the format of how we want something, you can go on an app right now, and see top videos and ones 15 seconds of one's a minute and 30 seconds, next to a documentary, which is next to an episode of a show. So how is formatting changing and how is streaming also changing the dynamics of storytelling or creating content for these platforms around sports,


David Katz  

you have unlimited choice. You have so much freedom that it's actually often hard to figure out, what should the format be. And I think a lot of the mistakes that people make is they get locked into the format of the previous medium, call it TV or radio or whatever it is talking about podcasts are talking about streams now. And they think that is what a show is, because that's how it worked on those platforms. We're not going to bring it to the Internet, and we're going to slap it on the web or on or whatever it is. And you have to fight that instinct. And I think you really need to think about as Jeff was talking about before, how do you how are you serving the fan? And how are the fans instincts differently? And how are these platforms allowing you to do different things. And I'll tell you the freedom here is, I'm not stuck in a 22 minute, you know, sitcom universe for 30 minutes sitcom and commercial breaks and all this stuff. Your ability to bring in advertisers and monetize it in different ways, is really at your level of creativity. We would do the show for the Women's World Cup. I couldn't tell you every episode was different. Front length, because it was about the quality of the storytelling. And the second we thought, that's it. That's what we got today. We're done, we're out, we cut, we're done. And then we'll cut it up in different parts. We were not held to a certain type of structure and medium. So that's what I love about this. And it's constantly thinking about the the immersiveness, of adding a fan and the interactivity of the fan experience into what you do is what I keep pushing my team on. How do we do it differently than what TV can do? Because TV does, TV does exceptionally well. And that's why you see ratings really, for the most part staying strong. We need to do things differently in order to capture attention, because along with infinite choice on our part is that the user has infinite choice one scroll away, right? And you got to really catch their attention.


Geoff Reiss  

And this is a place where I think Twitter deserves an enormous amount of credit, because I think the second piece of that is, first of all, is you're absolutely right, having the discipline of not being rigidly adherent to to a bunch of vestigial kind of approaches. The other is that is the Twitter really introduced at scale the importance of authenticity. And and and that notion of authenticity actually liberates you as a producer to say, not everything has to be done in a 5000 square foot high def, you know studio with Ken and Barbie dolls. And and you know, beautiful this beautiful that it's about the quality of the information, it's about how well it connects. So it just it did means that you not only have the flexibility from kind of a time and space perspective, but even in terms of the range of production values, you throw at something, because because it really is about the strength of the connection you're making with the user. And not necessarily You know, there are times that you actually get totally want to roll out the bells and whistles. Another time. It's just it's just about getting face and voice and ideas.


Laura Froelich  

And it's also about the immediacy, right? You know, when news is breaking, you just want the flexibility to be able to go live in that moment and say, you know, the strangest happened, what do we think about it, let's debate it. Let's hear what people are saying about it. You know, to be able to have that flexibility to, you know, have that immediate contact with the fans, especially as you know, trusted sources. You know, I think that's important what's


Julian Mitchell  

going to happen anyway, right? Because people are going to have the conversations it's going to go on when people get the news, they're going to talk about it. And I feel like for so long when it comes to sports in as big as it is, you have leagues trying to borrow equity off of moments and conversations that are happening, simply because they aren't taking ownership of it or creating a space for it themselves. So they're playing catch up with the conversation saying, Oh, you know, this used to be an afterthought for us. But now we need to get ahead of a lot of these conversations instead, around the sport. When we look at the future of that, though, then what becomes the balance between user generated or fan driven sports experiences, and league driven or institution driven sport experiences when you look at the future because fans do drive the sport. They do. Create the car conversation, a lot of it is reactionary by nature so you can have that flexibility. So then where do you strike the balance? What does


David Katz  

that look like? going forward? Well, I can give you the fox perspective on this. We have a lot of success with our Fs, one, programming and our Fs. One programming is driven by very strong informed opinion makers. So people look at our portfolio of assets. They might be very surprised to know that the NBA and NBA coverage is one of our strongest properties despite having no official National League rights to the so. Why is that? Well, when we have a Colin coward, and a Shannon Sharpe, and a Skip Bayless, and Jason Whitlock, and a variety of other tastemakers and opinion makers, I actually think when news breaks, if it was simply news breaking and then a flurry of fan conversation underneath that on a Twitter feed or something, it would not be particularly interesting in my opinion, right, right. I like it. I don't like it. Come back and forth. What I think makes it is when you have informed experts, who then are giving interesting angles on that, that you might not have thought of. And that's when you're soliciting the fan reaction, and the re sharing and posting and all that stuff. So, so we try to do is we like to bring in, we believe kind of in the adage, people like people more than brands? Absolutely. So it almost doesn't matter what Fox Sports says. There's really no Fox Sports opinion. And I don't know if that's centrally shared by the philosophy of other sports networks. But certainly for us, we let our talent lead, we hire good talent, we support them fully. I have a social media team that works tirelessly to make our talent even better than they could ever be on their own on these platforms, even if it's not directly for the benefit of Fox, because it's the benefit of our overall brand in supporting the fan conversation and engagement. And that's why a lot of Our talent shows up very high on your annual list of most mentioned sports media personality. Exactly. So just think that that's kind of how you need to support and drive conversation around this. And it's an advantage we have I think, in many cases over league where we're willing to maybe go places that the league's are not,


Laura Froelich  

I think there's a space for all of it to you know, people gravitate towards certain personality, certain perspectives. And you know, what, one of the things that we recently announced that we're doing on Twitter now is, historically on Twitter, you really have only the ability to follow an account. And now what you can do is we're offering the opportunity to follow a topic. So when you come to Twitter and you're super interested in college football, you can follow the college football topic. And what that will do is put all of the best tweets from all of the best sources so whether it be Fox Sports or top, you know, top commentators from Fox Sports, or even the best you Fan perspectives that we think that you'll find interesting or funny or compelling, will put all of those into your timeline that you might not have discovered on your own.


Julian Mitchell  

Yeah, I think we're in an interesting time to, to that point where the personalities you think Stephen A Smith, you think Colin coward, you think so many people in this age of the debate show the personalities, the spin offs of flagship shows to create these new formats that fit for on the go mobile. A lot of the personalities are becoming as big as the athletes, if not bigger, right? They're getting the contracts. They're in the spaces. They're building the audience. So how does that shifted as well, when you think about the relationship between the media, the fan and the sport? Where that relationship goes next when individual personalities and their platforms become big media brands themselves, that a lot of times are bigger than networks and have the same immediate access and direct relationship to fans like how does that That dynamic evolve, in your mind going forward?


Geoff Reiss  

I think it's a great question. And I think it's it's been very high in our mind as we as we think about how we how we develop and bring talent into Yahoo Sports. And we've made we've made enormous progress over the course the last year and a half in terms of bringing a next generation of talent in, that looks a hell of a lot more like our audience than I used to. And it starts with that I think, you know, to give credit to, to give credit to ESPN. I think one of the things that helped ESPN breakthrough to begin with, was as a fan, it felt like somebody had left a door unlocked somewhere, and a bunch of jackass sports fans wandered onto a set. And you're for the first time ever, you're watching a bunch of folks on TV, who loves sports as much as you did. Or and I would argue to a degree the network migrated away from that a little bit over time and it's hard and part just because that that that first couple generations of talent was just so it was so different, but we're really working hard. Bringing in talent folks who absolutely have the journalistic chops who have that who have that bearing but also haven't been ruined yet and haven't loved lost their love for the category haven't lost their their love because it makes them relatable. And and we feel like our talent ultimately, you know, I want them to be it's like, you know, it's like one of us got in. And one of us is hanging out with KD and what else is hanging out with these guys?


Julian Mitchell  

And as we jump to you, I think it brings up an interesting point too, because that line is blurred, right sports is entertainment percent entertaining, but there's that line we're seeing between media journalism, and just strictly sports entertainment. entertainment value, it's


Geoff Reiss  

just sports with all due respect, right? I mean, you know that the fact the matter is, and we take it really seriously and again, these these folks are journalists recruited. But if they're wrong, it's not like they're wrong on global warming. It's not like they're wrong on what to do with a rant, right? It's right freakin sports. So that gives you a degree of liberty to have some fun with a category that that I think has been missing in a lot of instances in terms


David Katz  

of what you're looking for. It used to be that you were very siloed. If you were hiring a journalist, you would look for their journalistic chops. They know the structure, they know how to write in a certain way, you know that they're going to source their their content properly. For the last many years, like everything that I'm looking for in a higher as you got to be a triple threat, you have to understand what responsible journalism is, right? From a content perspective. But you need to be capable on video because that is really the emerging medium for a lot of people. And you need to be knowledgeable and sophisticated enough to be able to leverage social media to your benefit. So this triple threat of being able to do all of those things. Well, I think it's very important and that is what the modern sports media presenter is. And then the thing I would add to that maybe the fourth leg of that stool, is you need to have, you know, interesting perspective. I find too much of the kind of talk out there with kind of very obvious, mundane takes. And you get in this trap of, you know, thinking these former athletes who are often on the stage. They have the give the sports cliche all the time, and what we're looking for someone who can go past the cliche, and actually frame something in a very compelling way. And I think that we have some talent on TV that does that the best in the industry. But we also have some talent on digitally where we get some of that talent to show a different side of themselves on digitally, and it's not a debate format. It's often them talking right into the camera, talking right into the fans. One example of that is Joel klat. I think Joe klat is the best college football analyst out there. I'm obviously biased on that. But if you watch him what makes him so good is not just the way he and Gus Johnson have their chemistry and conducting a game and his knowledge and insight but he doesn't So much work for the digital department, in and around that before it right after even sometimes in the middle of it. And he frames his opinions and gives thoughts and he's not afraid. He has no fear. And he's willing to share his thoughts. And I think more of that type of talent, the people who lean in on that stuff, get rewarded, rich lay on the back end get become much more popular and much more influential in their medium, right? Don't


Geoff Reiss  

you think some of that has to do with just the dynamic has shifted right? It for the longest time, the creative process started with I got a show to fill. What am I going to talk about? Nobody ever went to Twitter and said, I'm going to go to Twitter. Now what the hell am I going to talk about? You go to Twitter, because you have something to say that you want to put out there? Right, you post you blog, and any larger percentage of the content that is getting created is being inspired by a specific thing that somebody wants to get across, as opposed to starting you've done it as a writer. Yeah. Oh, man, I gotta turn in 800 words. What the hell am I gonna say? Or you


Julian Mitchell  

wake up in the morning instead of thinking, this is what we need to say you listen to people, you say this is the thing that is happening or these are the conversations that matter to people. And how do we add a perspective that's authentic to what we're trying to do to this?


David Katz  

rub a really good point. We use a ton of social and data listening tools to inform what our talent says, release the topics that they should be speaking on. And that is now percolated up to the point where we are working with our TV shows, we are providing them with rundown of what the talents fans think very important, what this shows fans think, and oftentimes, what the competitive our shows on another networks fans are talking about. So you have the full structure of what is and we kind of call it raising the floor if you're talking about stuff that fans are, you know, are already interested in. That creates a new level of the floor to then push that fan engagement higher. So that's a very important point and Places like Twitter make these tools available, and other social networks and other places. And by pulling it all together, you get a really rich view into what the what the landscape is thinking about.


Julian Mitchell  

I mean, you brought up the point when it came to tradition, you have to because when you're in real time, or you're streaming, you can't be late, you can't be talking about something that people don't care about anymore, or they moved on from or you're presenting a perspective that's already been dissected and broken down on Twitter, from every possible perspective and they moved on from it, you have to have the flexibility and the quickness to do that. One of the things we haven't talked about in this ecosystem is brands, right, because they've powered so much of the media shift when it comes to digital platforms and being able to monetize and create revenue streams. And the convergence we've seen obviously media became advertising advertising became the new entertainment business musics now media business, everything's kind of took a shift to the right, but now even with streaming, we're seeing it all come in One kind of fluid space where everybody's working together. So what is the role that brands play in the future of streaming? And where do they fit in this ecosystem where you can circumvent and go straight to the league or go straight to a partnership with you and go straight to the fan? like where do brands play a role in that now and going forward,


Geoff Reiss  

there's a there's a piece of brands we're not even talking about, because we've been in a largely kind of consumer experience focused conversation, but increasingly, the relationship that consumer has with the brand is going to be predicated on a level of trust and safety. Right, it's going to be a question of you know, right now there's, there's an understanding that an awful lot of data is moving, and who am I comfortable with having, you know, what, how much of that data and what are they going to use with it? So, you know, the, the, the the value proposition that the brand is going to have to deliver the consumer is going to evolve significantly over the course of the next year. Whether it's me or David asking somebody to make a sports bet on our platform. Give us your money. Tell us how you You want to bet on and we're going to hold your money and we're going to keep it private, who you know. So whether whether it's we're taking your money to make a bet, or we're sharing your information about what you're searching on, or in our case we're dealing with, with literally a billion data points around email, it's going to start around around really being able to create an environment that a consumer has confidence of even spending time there. And then it gets into that next kind of experiential level. So the stakes for the, the the expectations of what the brand is going to have to deliver is going to grow significantly. And I think you know, one of the things that again, I think Twitter's on is an interesting place on is just how you guys are approaching things like elections and how you're approaching you know, advertising on on election because it's it's it's a tough call.


David Katz  

It's the fun of Twitter. It's almost like you work back in the day.


Geoff Reiss  

Like it's an amazing day. They still


Julian Mitchell  

as active is active handles of Yeah, sure.

 

Geoff Reiss  

Oh, yeah. I got a hoodie somewhere.


Laura Froelich  

Yeah, I mean, you know, I think the other thing Absolutely. And the other thing is, you know, brands are looking to make genuine connections with their target audiences, obviously, right? And what audiences are looking for is for the brands to show up in a genuine way. And so one of the ways that we talked to brands about how they can do that is to connect with what's happening in the world and connect with the things that they're targeted audiences are passionate about. There's actually some research that we we referenced that cultural relevance is becoming more and more important to people and their purchase decision. So actually, 23% of a consumers purchase decision is based on cultural relevance of the brand. Well, one


Julian Mitchell  

thing to to that point is, you know, cultural capital is just more valuable than $1. We're in that time where the exchange rate on influence and credibility can actually access more than what you can with a budget or what you can with physical currency, so people who move the needle or acquire that current are actually in more of a power position or impactful position in any brand or per se.


Laura Froelich  

Yeah, I mean, and then you know, aligning with content, you know, like, like, you know, the other partners that we work with is a great opportunity for them to do that.


David Katz  

Think about it before in a traditional TV model. We have our content, we have a commercial break brands come in, they have 30 seconds to make their pitch to America. And they do that in their own way. And it's all in them. And there's not very much integration with us. Certainly over time, there's been more and more integration, I think the power of sports has been, there's always been more integration in sports in and other entertainment forms, right on digital, again, getting back to that creativity and choice decision that we have to make. The role of the brand is as as important to the overall content experience, in many cases, right as the content that we create in and of itself. So finding the right brand, finding the right brand match for what you're trying to do so that it feels authentic, and not sure warned in finding a brand is willing to do the work to figure out the right type of integration. And then on our end, being creative enough, and being willing to go there and either put your talent front and center with this brand, or put your concepts or put your, your packaging in a way that works for the brand, very important to Jeff's point about the power of brands, I think, you know, a Yahoo Sports, a fox sports, there are certain values in these brands, not just to the advertisers coming in, but in the view of the fans, right, and there is a curation and a respect and a quality control that goes along with those brands. So much so and you tease the idea of sports wagering, but that's kind of the elephant in the room and that we believe it is such a critical part of the future of the sports ecosystem, especially the digital sports secret fantasies, we everything. When we had a we had to make a decision on a brand with our partner at the stars group. The brand that we chose is Fox bed, and we chose that for the exact reasons you were just talking about our brand. means something to fans that has a certain type of security and safety and quality associated with that. And they people like the Fox Sports brand. So we're going to pair that with exactly what this is, and put that brand front and center and not shy away from that. So the power of brands is critical. And I think all the, you know, the people who have been there 25 years at Fox Sports got this on day one, right? And I've worked really hard to live up to that brand to Fox Sports every day.


Julian Mitchell  

And now that you know, and I love your opinion on this, but now as we see sports brands like Nike, like Adidas, who see themselves as media brands that are creating content, creating platforms, creating experiences, that know they have a global audience and a global reach. They represent the biggest athletes in the world. Like what is that approach for them seeing this future of sports and that convergence of where they fit when they come to a Twitter or Fox or they come into these spaces and say now, we aren't just the ones that want to ads and create authentic experiences, we want to be the ones that tell the stories, we want to be the ones that help partner on these platforms like what is that kind of picture look like?


Laura Froelich  

I think the best example of that, what are one of the best examples was a couple of years ago when Nike did breaking too. So Elliot cryptokey, who has since broken the two hour marathon barrier, was attempting to do so and they live streamed the entire marathon. And it was an incredibly communal experience of everyone watching this, you know, human striving for greatness. And, you know, I think, and afterwards, you know, we looked at ourselves, and we said, That was incredible. And by the way, we just watched it to our Nike commercial.


Geoff Reiss  

Yeah. And by the way, I would argue, this isn't new. I mean, I remember having we I was part of launching ESPN. com back in the 90s. And I remember going down to Beaverton and seeing the night Folks, and we get in this room together, and they tell us about all this amazing ideas they have for content. And then they look at us so happy like, and this is great because now we don't have to buy ads anymore. In fact, you should pay us for this content. Right and and and yes, they have an ability to tell stories, there is tremendous cultural equity in those brands. At the same time, they do have an insatiable need to drive discovery. The biggest challenge any IP owner has, whether they are the National Football League or their Nike or their television network or Yahoo Sports right, is the competition to drive discovery is immense. And and and whether it's it's it's doing so in form of a commercial partnership, or or hoodwinking the people I used to think over smart Twitter to give them a two hour commercial for free. The point is that the ecosystem has been completely broken down because they're there. It's if anything, the ecosystem is becoming more mutually dependent in terms of driving that discovery as big as the super bowl is going to be for Fox and NFL. It doesn't mean either of them are remotely happy with the level of discovery. They're going to drive. They want more. They want more. They want more. They need more. They need Yahoo, they need Facebook,


Julian Mitchell  

they need Instagram. Yeah. I mean, as we talked about streaming and everything goes mobile, the marketing shift also goes from cultural marketing to lifestyle marketing, right? Like people have to see if you're selling headphones. It's not just Oh, these are the best design headphones and you make a cool ad and somebody wants to buy them. You need to see who's wearing them and what environment they're wearing them. What are they listening to? What are these things happening? So I think when it even comes to sport, and how people experience sport and how you engage with people, a lot of it is to your point earlier about how NFL fans think everybody sits down in their living room yo and watches the game. You have to break up that way of thinking and think more lifestyle focused because people across generations are living very fluid, different mobile lifestyles now than they ever have. Before, so a lot of those traditions have changed. But to that point eSports we've talked about gambling, like betting on sports, but eSports is huge. Ninja being the first eSports athlete to be on ESPN, the magazine was a big turning point for that. You see play vs. Now high school sports leagues emerging. So where does that intersection happen? Or where does that connection happen between the future of sports streaming and the rise of Esports?


Laura Froelich  

Yeah, I mean, for us, you know, in general, our philosophy around what content do we want to bring to the platform is, as you can imagine, listening to the people on Twitter, what are the kinds of things that they're talking about? And we started seeing an incredible surge in the conversation around eSports on our platform. And so, you know, we started really growing our relationships and our team around that so, and last year, there were actually 1.2 billion tweets on Twitter about gaming and eSports 20% increase year over year, it's just growing faster than we ever perhaps some of us perhaps expected. And and we definitely see it as a huge opportunity going forward.


David Katz  

I mean, Fox made an investment in emerging platform called caffeine, which people will say is kind of a twitch like platform that has a lot of different elements to it. And I think that is one step into us learning more about this audience. I don't think anyone pretends to know exactly what's driving this audience and exactly where it's going. But you have to get in and learn it from the inside out. So every relationship with caffeine, you're going to see a lot more content around this kind of pop percolating. I don't know if the jury's a little out right now as to whether or not this format and this content is just so native to the digital medium that that is where it should live, whether ultimately it migrates into TV and what form of fashion. We don't know whether it's the publishers that will drive it, game developers, whether it's the league's whether they all kind of come together These are the early days of kind of the formation of this, I think we're taking a look at it, that audience is important to us. That audience is not just playing games that audiences also watching other sports and right, but they may be watching sports in a different way. They may be looking and focus more on individual athletes, as opposed to caring as much about teams, as that's my generation does. Yeah, the Ravens don't make the Super Bowl, you're not going to want to talk to me. But I'll tell you, there's a lot of kids out there. I'm more focused on I like Patrick mahomes. That's my guy, right? Like Mr. Jackson, or I like Jimmy grew up. So I think there's we're learning and we will keep studying the data and seeing how this user behavior changes. And we're going to try to see what drives this audience and what are they interested in? I think eSports is a part of it.


Julian Mitchell  

Yeah, social media is definitely made sports more of a player focused atmosphere because you can follow them. You can see what they lie you can connect with them a lot better.


Geoff Reiss  

No and just to draft on your last comment. It's interesting because I think that's one of the reasons why the NBA has as flourished on a global basis so much over the last couple years. Because, you know, the way they have positioned that sport going back the last 25 years is consistent with the way that the fans, you know, the fans want to engage. And you know, the NFL has taken historically, right and approach that, that fans root for laundry, right fans are rooting for team colors and and even fans who, who are you know, quote unquote, hardcore fans of certain teams, they could you know, if a player, if they saw a player's picture, they wouldn't necessarily be able to recognize that guy. So, you know, it's an interesting thing. I'm vamping in part because I don't know what the hell to do about eSports. Um, you know, it's something that that I think is a really interesting audience. What it exactly means for us at Yahoo is something that I really don't have a great idea about. I know that that one of the things that we're interested in on a corporate level is a lot of what he's going to happen. And I mentioned, only wants But a lot, one of the things that will happen as an offshoot of widescale ability of distribution, and 5g is the nature of Esports competition is going to change. And we're going to be able to actually, you know, the weird thing about eSports, right, eSports leagues, they're all these teams. These teams never have home games. You know, you may it's the weirdest thing in the world, right? You got, you've got a new york team and in, in, in whatever, in whatever title, they never actually have a home game. And, and for me, one of the things that that sport is going to need over time is to be able to connect with those bases of fans, whether it be based on personality or geography, and increase net network capacity, ability to eliminate the latencies and be able to start to have the team from Korea play the team in New York, right? That's when it starts getting cool when the team in New York is sitting in a room like this are 20 times bigger, and a team in Korea sitting in a similar room in Seoul. That's where it starts getting cool. 


Julian Mitchell  

Alright, so we've talked about as we wrap it up tremendous opportunity. Tremendous white space, open space, you all doing great work already experimenting, trying things pushing the envelope. Going down the line starting with you, Laura biggest trend or shift You see, for the next three to five years like in the immediate future in sports streaming, what's the biggest trend to shift you?


Laura Froelich  

Yeah, I mean, I touched on it a little bit earlier, I think that there's a trend towards within this world of even more and more choice, people are going to want to be able to choose and direct their content experiences. So being able to have alternate camera angles that you can choose which player you're going to focus on, had different perspectives of commentators throughout the game. I think that level of personalization, we're starting to scratch the surface on and I think it's just going to increase going forward.


David Katz  

You know, I think everything that we do, is really geared around answering certain questions, helping fans kind of answer and anticipate outcomes of games, right for their teams, their fantasy teams, whatever it is, we try to promote than all this information, and I think ultimately, we have, we have taken a big leap in the last year towards moving people one step closer to being able to have the entertainment value of putting some money on those, those outcomes. So I think that the wagering piece is really fundamental shift for the American sports fan and look with Fox bet. Our goal is to get the casual fan to have a little bit of plane money to make the watching experience more fun and more interesting to have them more engaged with all this great content around it that surrounds it. And but now for the first time, you can kind of close the loop and have a transaction at the end of it as opposed it's just a consumption experience. And before I go, I want to give you a quick chair update. Do not wear black pants on a white fluffy material.


Geoff Reiss  

I tuned to to me and this is building a little bit on What Laura said, right, the range and diversity of experiences that are going to emerge, and again, they will be powered by massive increases in just the sheer amount of bits, the volume bits that can be moved. And I think specifically, what that means is two things, it means that a lot of the things that we give up right now, when we watch sports at home, are going to be delivered into in terms of the social experience in terms of feeling like I am part of a larger, a larger experience is going to is going to change dramatically through combinations of AR and potentially even VR. And I think a lot of the things we give up when we go to the game, in terms of control, that experience I have at home will start to be introduced in venue. So I think, you know, the fundamental, the fundamental experiences, both in home and in venue, are going to start looking a lot like each other. And it's been an awful lot of fun to work on.


Julian Mitchell  

As with a couple of minutes left, I definitely want to hear how you may be integrating some of those new technologies, ar VR, some of those new platforms out there. Any ways that you're implementing that are looking to experiment more with those new technologies?


Laura Froelich  

That mean, we're definitely keeping an eye on all of that. I would say not necessarily anything specific to say in the near term, but certainly keeping an eye out.


David Katz  

we've experimented with it. We've done various VR campaigns, we had a VR app. And we've certainly learned I don't think I was a little skeptical with, when you see so much hype, go into these things so fast. It immediately breeds skepticism for me, maybe just how I'm wired, whether it's cryptocurrency, or the br VR dominated every single, you know, Tech Summit and conference that we went to, it felt like too much too soon. And I think now it starts becoming more real that the hype has died down. The the serious money has decided where they want to place their bets, and the businesses are now trying to find business cases. So, you know, from our standpoint, we just try to get as many of the rights as we possibly can. And make sure then once we have the rights, we can provide that full expression And for the fan. And I think we've done a good job in every single case where the use case is a legitimate one. And I think I don't know the answer to it. But AR VR is certainly something that at the right time, we will be participating in in a big way.


Geoff Reiss  

You can't have lived through 3d TV right and not not skeptical about VR. Um, for us it's very real in terms of you know, we are we are hardwiring the vast majority of NFL stadiums with with 5g network capabilities so that we can start to create totally different experiences for fans who were there. From from everything from the way they ordered concessions to the way they get information to the types of activities they partake in during breaks. So you know, that that isn't future that's now and it's something that that we're deeply invested in. Absolutely.


Julian Mitchell  

Thank you. Can you give it up for our panelists? Thank you all, and have a great rest of your time at CES.

CTATECH-PROD3