How to deliver the ultimate entertainment hub ? This is the challenge operators and suppliers are facing today, while trying to define what immersive experience means for players. Together with iNTERGAME, we tackled both subjects.
For years, the sports betting (SB) competition has been heating up, and customer acquisition and retention is becoming more and more expensive for SB operators; making it difficult to keep the churn rates low. Expanding regulation and unsustainable costs connected with awarding free bets and offering higher odds to retain clients have made the issue much worse in some markets.
The truth is that traditional approaches such as promotions and increased bonuses are no longer effective differentiators. Besides, they are putting even more pressure on the operators' already decreasing profit.
TRENDS WITH A GLOBAL REACH
The bigger picture is often missed by operators and suppliers. It is of utmost importance for them to capitalize on global trends in which video streaming, particularly via mobile, has been developing extremely fast. During the last few years, 70% of the entire internet traffic corresponded to video streaming of which 52% was streamed via mobile. As mentioned by Nielson, mobile phone media consumption has surpassed TV for the first time across all demographics.
As of today, one of the most popular video contents is Sports streaming. Fors instance, the 2018 Super Bowl was live-streamed by 45% more people compared to 2017. According to the results of a Google Sports survey, 30% of sports fans prefer to watch games and events on their mobiles because it allows them to do it "on their terms."
Second trend to be gaining momentum across all industries is the rising desire for online social communication. Consumers, particularly the “millennials”, anticipate a more interactive experience in which they can learn more about a game and even discuss the event's outcomes with their friends.
MORE THAN A SUBMISSION-BASED PLATFORM
In order for the operators to capitalize on these shifting market conditions, they need to plan ahead. It is no longer enough to provide attractive betting content, appealing odds, and intriguing bonus promos.
It is crucial to start thinking bigger. The market is ready for an ultimate Sports Entertainment Hub to serve as the primary destination for sports lovers for everything connected to sports, from watching live games to checking scores, reading sports news, and discussing games with friends to betting.
Having live scores, game statistics, line-ups, and tailored sports news as first-class members of the Sports-Betting offering is the first step toward developing the Sports Entertainment Hub or THE SUPER APP. Despite the fact that practically all SB sites have these features, consumers prefer to access this information through third-party apps owing to a bad user experience. According to Nielsen's sports media survey, to look up a player or get game-related information, 80% of the TV viewers use their mobile for the search. Operators may lose money every time a user connects to a third-party app to check the score, read the news, or watch a brief overview of the video game video.
THE MAKING OF THE SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT HUB
The big thing in the last decade has been live betting. Operators can take it a step further by delivering live sports game streaming with a play-along option, giving customers a watch and bet experience. It should be highlighted that while a few operators now do provide live game streaming on their websites, there is still room for experience improvement.
Besides focusing on retaining users and enhancing the immersive experience, sports-betting operators can employ live streaming to expand into new markets where fans do not have access to Pay TV providers that broadcast sporting events. These types of underserved populations can be found all throughout the world, particularly in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Because watching sports and placing bets is inherently a social activity, it makes sense to include real-time chat functionality in In-Play games to boost user engagement and retention. Nexon raised user session duration by 150 percent and the number of spectators for each event on its live streaming eSports platform in this way. Furthermore, an active social network will aid in reducing churn because socialized players spend more time on the platform, hence an increase in screen time, increasing the likelihood of spending more money.
Consumer involvement can lead to the creation of new revenue streams, such as pool betting. It's only natural in such a social setting for players to gamble against one another during the game. Finally, the use of live chat will have a long-term impact on player loyalty, strengthening the community around the SB platform.
Operators who want to go even more creative and build a stronger community around the SB platform can host unique live online shows in which celebrities, analysts, players, experts comment on the game with users via a monitored chat or messaging system. Sky Bet employs a similar and effective strategy by including Super 6 into a long-running live results TV show on Sky Sports, inviting celebrities and a panel of former pros playing along.
This is only the tip of the iceberg; there are a lot more opportunities to take SB offering to higher levels, from being a simple betting platform to becoming an all-encompassing Sports Entertainment Hub, resulting in a more immersive experience, increased user acquisition, and increased retention.