Collingwood Digital Media manager Jonathon Bernard discusses the importance of story telling for Collingwood TV and The Club on this week’s Sports Geek Podcast. On Harf Time we look at what the NBL needs to do to reconnect with a lost generation of fans.
On this podcast you’ll find out about:
- Why The Club format changed from season 1 to season 2
- How Collingwood developed a point of difference against traditional media rivals
- Why breaking the news isn’t that important as delivering the story behind it
- What exciting project Collingwood has planned for 2014
- How the Perth Wildcats reconnected with fans before move into new (bigger) venue
- Why preaching to the converted is a flawed strategy for growth
- Importance of developing your fans as your brand ambassadors
Resources from the episode
- Find Jonathon Bernard on Twitter (@jonathonbernard) and Linkedin
- Follow @CollingwoodFC on Twitter and on Facebook.com/CollingwoodFC and YouTube.com/collingwoodctv
- Heath Shaw & Alan Didak suspended when Jono joined Collingwood (Heath Shaw traded this week)
- Looking back at Scott Pendlebury signing
- What we did with Collingwood in 2010 to develop social media platforms as a client
- Yes that’s Sean on AFL Grand Final coverage AKA #CallananShimmy
- Perth Wildcats grew from 15,ooo fans to 33,000 Facebook fans to help them fill 11,000 Perth Arena
- Sound of the game from Melbourne Tigers game at The Cage
- Thanks for iTunes reviews in Australian iTunes and USA iTunes.
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DJ Joel: Welcome to episode 22 of the Sports Geek podcast. On today’s episode, we will chat with Jonathon Bernard from the Collingwood Football Club on the development of Collingwood TV to The Club and the importance of storytelling. And what does the NBL need to do right now?
Welcome to the Sports Geek podcast. The podcast built for sports digital and sports business professionals. And now, here’s your host known for the Callanan Shimmy, go on, YouTube it. Sean Callanan.
Sean: Thanks, DJ Joel. My name is Sean Callanan from Sports Geek and welcome to another episode of Sports Geek Podcast. On today’s episode I go into Collingwood this week at Westpac Centre and have a chat with Jonathon Bernard from the Collingwood Football Club and talk to him about the development of their video product. It was Collingwood TV and now it’s The Club, a fully-fledged half-hour episode on Fox Footy every week, and just on some of the learnings they’ve had over the first two seasons of that. We also discuss a project they are looking to launch next year in the history of the Collingwood Football Club.
And then later on I talk a little bit about the NBL. The National Basketball League here in Australia that just started up its season moving into summer and some of the things they can do to reconnect with what I would call the “Lost Generation of Fans”. But that’s later on. First is my chat with Jonathon Bernard form the Collingwood Football Club.
Sean: So I’m here at the Westpac Centre, home of Collingwood Football Club in the AFL and I’m joined by Jonathon Bernard. Welcome Jonathan.
Jonathon: Sean, thanks for having me here. Do you want me to maybe redo your American Intro for the Sports Geek podcast? Is that why I’m here?
Sean: No, No. I’ll get that from DJ Joel who does the job there. He does a fine job at that. So, first of all, tell us a little bit about what your role is at Collingwood, and how long you’ve been at the club?
Jonathon: Sure. Well I started at the Club in 2008. It was actually two weeks before the Heath Shaw/Alan Didak incident involving their behavior in the car and led to season-long suspensions. So it was a pretty interesting moment to be at the club and kind of see particularly from the media point of view how the Club reacts to something like that.
And I started in what I guess you would call the Traditional Media Department. Mainly focused on servicing media requests and really being that go-to point from players to the general media. And basically I would say maybe 12 months later that the need, and particularly the importance of, more so social media at the time, and then extending it to the website in different offerings was evident. And the CEO made a decision to create a Digital Media Department, which I now manage.
At the present moment we have myself, two full-timers here at the club, and then we have six part-timers. And we are just in the process of production for Collingwood TV next year. So, I’ve been at the club for over five years now, and growing up as a Collingwood supporter, so you’ve got the passion there and you tick that box and the interest in Digital Media exists now, so it’s a really good combination.
Sean: So it’s a pretty familiar path and a lot of people who are listening to this Sports Geek Podcast, especially in sports, would have followed that same path in the small digital department and then into the content game, which you are a very much part of now, which you are producing content. You are competing against the NFL. You are competing against NewsCorp and Foxtel and ESPN, and all those kinds [of networks] in producing your own content.
You did touch on Collingwood TV that you are one of the few AFL clubs that have their own TV show, this yourselves. And then have The Club TV show Foxtel, and West Coast Eagles have their Eagle’s Vision on Channel 7. What were some of the decisions around expanding your offerings outside digital and start “The Club,” which is TV show?
Jonathon: Well, Collingwood TV is not new. I guess the platform that we’re on now is new. It’s been around long before me, I think 2004. I was doing a historical video on CTV to see how far we’ve come and in 2004 was the first footage and [logo] that I could find and I guess since then that the quality of content and style of content has changed with that online offering. And what used to be I think a couple of first pieces was Neil Balme talking about the latest lost. And it was a 45 minute, most depressing show you’ve ever seen on a Monday morning. And that’s kind of where it started and obviously, since then we’ve tailored it to where we know and how content works online.
And then the decision was made in 2011 that we should look at potentially going on a television format. We had sort of interest from Channel 7, from Fox Footy and particularly Fox Footy, they had just relaunched their channel and were desperate for insider content. And I guess what we had been able to show in the lead up to that decision was that we could create our own–well, I don’t want to call it exclusive, content, that is Collingwood produced and probably has a little bit of a different flavor from what’s covered out there in the general media.
So again the decision came from Gary Pert that he wanted The Club to be in this space, and I think not only as an extra touch point for our members and supporters, but I think there is an element of credibility which existed with that decision, and gave to Collingwood TV. So really the decision was made because we wanted to have the ability to tell, probably, longer stories, and stories that were not as topical as your milestone moments or your injured players. We’ll still tell those, but also have the ability to spend 10 minutes talking about key club stalwart who has been here for years and is as passionate as the President, and still have that compelling point of view as well.
So we partnered with Fox Footy and that first year we certainly learned a lot. So we just wrapped up our second season. And I think now we’ve done 55 episodes across 2 years.
Sean: I think a key point of that is, that I think is in a lot of sports understand it, but it’s really around the resourcing, is that the storytelling capacity that the teams have. And I think you do have that insider content. And I think that is what the fans crave. And to be able to tell that longer form, I think that the case of Collingwood TV migrating to The Club, was the case of continually building that web content and doing those webisodes, whether it like [My] TV with the players interviewing each other in the smaller club spots pretty much proved the point to Gary Pert that the fans love it. We are producing it for the fans, we’ve providing that point of view, and the editorial from inside the club that other athletes can’t provide. And we know our fans love it.
And for those of us who don’t know, Collingwood does sell a lot of newspapers in Melbourne. And it is a very cluttered market in Melbourne with so many football teams and I’d like to call the sporting capital of the world for people listening in. And so from the first season of Collingwood TV to the second season of Collingwood TV, what were some of the learnings? Like first season was very studio-based and it was used a lot around breaking your news. Blogging about it and the signing was deliberately held back and you used that as a platform for “You’ve got to tune in.” What did you learn from it, and how did you also go about coordinating those efforts for those [big-type events].
Jonathon: I think what we learned is that the studio component of the show was a great experience because from a production point of view, it doesn’t take a heck of a lot of effort to put together 7 to 10 minutes of studio production. What we found our main success with was the opening 10 minutes of the show, which we really tried to have that kind of reality fly-on-the-wall-feel. I don’t want to compare it to the ESPN 30 for 30-style shows.
Sean: With the hard-knock style.
Jonathon: With the hard-knock style. And I think that is kind of the real show that we were trying to create. And the other element about the show that is so interesting is that it is probably one of the only shows–not only in that format–but is a weekly show, and the pressure to create weekly content that are really determined about the last seven days of events and turn it around for television is really unique.
I remember halfway through the first season, I was pounding my head against the wall saying I’d love to have four months of content and be able to post-produce that into a couple of tight shows. So there is a lot of pressure and demand to get over 7 days of a 22-minute show.
So what we have learned from our members and supporters from the feedback at the end of the year that we received is that they loved that opening 10 minutes which gave basically the live updated account of what has been going on at the club through the eyes of a player, or supporter, or a staff member. And then, the studio time, well, I love that because it was an easy piece to produce.
And they sort of turned off, and I think they turned off because it really was a piece that you could be watching on 360 which was just before “The Club” show, and there was real no point of difference. We would have a player talking to a host and in six minutes there is only just so much you can talk about the upcoming game, and I think we quickly realized that we didn’t want just to be another footy show. We wanted to have that Collingwood-unique storytelling angle to it.
And one of the main decisions that we came to at the end of first season was to drop that studio component and to try to continue that opening 10 minutes of that reality-feel throughout the remainder of the show, which proved to be a struggle. But what we’re also able to do was factor in our sponsors as well and a little bit of a less obvious of a manner than we did in our first season.
So if you watch the second of the show, you see a lot more, for example Holden Brandy [SP] when we were on the road with the players and the coach. And you know, we can get away with maybe spending 10 seconds of that opening show, featuring that Holden Logo, and the Holden car, whereas previously we might have looked to knock up 30 seconds of Holden commercial, which we still did to some degree on the second season, but not as much. So I guess we kind of learned more of what the supporter wanted and also how to get a bit of a return on investment that we have made on this show.
Sean: Yeah, I mean, I think that commercialization aspect is vital, and you can’t go do these things, and you got to have that ROI, you have to have how are we getting returns, and integrating those sponsors into those stories is far easier than saying, “Oh we’ve got a 30-second spot right here, you can buy that spot.” And I think sponsors are looking for that tighter association with the brand. And if you are filming a player driving the car, and arriving the sponsor or doing a clinic, or showing that side of community side of what Collingwood does, it is very important.
So one of the things with Foxtel and Fox Footy, when you are a subscriber it’s great, you see it all. But only 25% of Australians have cable television and have access to Foxtel. And so how did your department look to take content marketing? I remember that someone described it at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego earlier this year, content marketing is a lot like Thanksgiving, where you produce basic content and that’s the turkey, but there is always leftovers, and it’s about how you slice and dice those leftovers to reuse on different platforms. So how did you take, you know you got 22 minutes of premium content that ran live on a Wednesday night, and fans that could watch it, loved it. But what did you do to make sure that fans that couldn’t get it got access to it and effectively stretch that content out a little bit?
Jonathon: Well initially we uploaded the episode in full and that was basically a single–so 22 minutes chunk of video in that first season. And we quickly saw, particularly from the YouTube analytic, that the viewers have dropped off dramatically as soon as that first story had finished, supporters knocked off. So we made the decision to allocate a little bit of resource that night of the show premiering, so it’s a Wednesday at 8:30. To ensure that if the 22 minutes comprised of 6 separate segments, that those 6 separate segments would be uploaded independently, and then we had the ability to market those to our supporters in a different manner.
So on the website you might have your episode landing page with the six segments, but then we might look to, if we had a really sexy segment on a club event where we had girlfriends and partners, we might use that on Facebook because we know that might attract the eye a little bit more. And on Twitter we might look to promote the key topical event from that show, whether it was a rookie signing, or an injury update. So, we wanted to make sure that while Fox Footy was a great platform for those who had it that we didn’t want to neglect the rest of the army with the platform. So we just wanted it out there I guess.
Sean: And was that bite-sized content well-received? And something that fans can, you know, whether they’re on the train, and it’s a two to three minute piece, if they can do that, either through the app, and those type of things? Was it easier to consume?
Jonathan: I think so. I think we still found a bit of a struggle with supporters going through each segment. I think they would in turn look for the one or two that would only interest them and watch that, and the rest of the show they wouldn’t watch. What we’ve also found though, and probably this week perfect example, is we were then able to lean on these segments and use them later down the track.
So for example, we’re currently in the midst of trade week and Derek Hine, our national recruiting manager, is appearing to do a magnificent job on all fronts is getting the accolades from “the army” online. So what we’re doing is we’re re-hashing the piece that we did Derek Hine earlier this year, when he was talking about the recruits he was looking at, and a bit of his life story, and we’re re-hashing that online this week. Because the supporters are interested in Derek Hine, who is this mastermind, the architect, and we’ve actually got this episode titled “The Architect.” And there’s seven minutes of Derek Hine.
And it’s great to be able to lean on these segments that we’ve spent time, effort, and resources in creating. And whether it’s for repurposing of content online, or strengthening our relationship with supporters and sponsors, in particular. We’ve found this to be worthwhile. And really this year, we’re in a position where if Collingwood had a sponsorship event on or if we wanted to get a little bit of media attention to. If for whatever reason, we didn’t think the media would show up, or there wouldn’t be much attention, we could rely on the “The Club,” the television show to help use that as a bit of its own media platform to guarantee that there would be some coverage.
Sean: And you do see that in the last couple of years that you are reporting on, what is happening at the club. So it is effectively being quoted on the next day, or it is a trigger for a story. So that you can use that as a piece to say to the traditional media say, “Here is a story that we would like told, and we’re going to break it here.” And start that news article, or start that debate, and so to get you that platform
Jonathon: It does, and I think that we probably fell into that trap of the first year was that if we did have a player resign, we did really look to hold it off–to answer your question earlier–to hold it off, because the show is taped and we’d sneak the player in studio. There’s 10 or 11 people that are working on production for Fox Footy, so we have to trust them not to leak it out. And eventually it would get out, whether it was the player manager, to hold until 8:30 that night is largely impossible. So our mentality changed from not necessarily breaking the resigning, but you will hear from the player here first, which took a lot of pressure off and made a lot more sense.
Sean: I mean, I guess the model for that, for the breaking news is one that, from the President, Eddie McGuire, used to be host of the Footy Show and used to always break at 9:30 on a Thursday because Ed did such a good job of holding it. So the model was there, but I think I remember during the Pendlebury resigning, the members were always first. So the members got an email that says, ‘Scott Pendlebury re-signs, tune into The Club.’ So automatically, you are alerting all the fans. They are starting to push it out from a social point of view, and the traditional news outlets are picking it up. But they know to get the first point of contact, and if you want to hear him speak, he’s going to be on the show. So, it sort of generates traffic back to there and to your site, and that sort of traffic so it is important to keep your members in the loop, and have vital email still is to contact your fans. But it’s sort of how you can manipulate the media in a certain way.
Jonathon: Well I think another great example is this year we saw Dane Swan was enlisted by the Footy Show to go on and kind of do this in-depth revealing interview. And at the time there were rumors swirling about him and the Footy Show had this interview which they secured and really–I think they did the interview on a Tuesday, I don’t recall–and they used small little grabs on Tuesday, Wednesday, into the Thursday night show and I think the interview–I can’t remember–went for 5 or 10 minutes with Damian Barrett [SP]. And sort of at the end of it, you watch this interview and what do you really get from Dane Swan, who is having another breakout season, who is a quality player?
And I felt like the supporters didn’t get a lot from that. And we actually received a fair bit of feedback the next day from members querying the fact that “Why was a footy show harping on this sensationalized interview when in actual fact there wasn’t much to the interview itself and the content. So what we did was–a few weeks later–we dedicated 22 minutes to Dane Swan and we had the Dane Swan episode, and we saw him get a tattoo, we saw him redevelop his house, we drove with him to a game, and we spoke to his parents. The insight that we were able to showcase in 22 minutes, and really tell the Dane Swan story, gave supporters a little bit more fulfillment, and they felt like they had that stronger relationship with that player post-that show. And it was something that we were able to–not necessarily–control, but provide and have that relationship with the player that we were able to maximize the time spent with him and the story we could tell.
Sean: I mean, I think the main thing from a club point of view is that you have a different motive for what the story is. So when Damian Barrett is interviewing Dane Swan on the Footy Show, he obviously wants to be sensationalist and, not that that is his main reason, but he wants ratings and people and outside supporters, to comment on Dane Swan and talking about it. And he is forcing them to tune in.
Whereas your main purpose is to talk to the Collingwood fan, build that connection with the Collingwood fan, make the member feel like they are more a member. So that when the renewal process happens, like it is right now, they just tick the box and say “Yes, I’m in because I feel closer connection to Collingwood.” So from a sports team point of view, when you are framing their content, you have a certain audience in mind. And it’s just your fans. You don’t worry about what other fans are going to comment on, to a certain degree. You embrace as Collingwood being the club, you embrace what other fans not liking what you are doing, because you are really trying to push your message of side-by-side and bringing the fans as close to the players as you can.
So you are always going to have that ability to tell that story strictly to the fans and what they want. The fact that you have channels from a social point of view–you know previously, you wouldn’t have gotten that feedback–and say “Oh we can like that.” The fact that they are complaining to you that another operator is doing something poorly and you can take that and go “well we better do that better in this episode, because that’s what the fans want.”
Jonathon: I also think that the supporters are getting–I don’t know if it’s a little more savvy–but I think they are expecting more from content they are consuming now. I think with the relationship they have now with–whether it’s clubs, or players, or sort of the host of that content. I think that because we are getting such direct, immediate, raw access, that by the time it reaches that media outlet, and by the time that media outlet adds its own spin to it, I don’t think that the supporters are looking to access that first through that platform. They probably got the majority of the story somewhere else–they are looking to gain insight, and I think where really only the insight that they can get at this point, in this day in age is analysis. But stories and content, I think the expectation of a supporter has grown dramatically since the implementation of social.
Sean: I think also that the clubs have moved away from–and you’ve said it yourself during that first season of The Club–”Oh we must break it first.” And social is about, very much provides that “Oh we’ve got to do it first, we’ve got to be the first to do it.” Whether it be a news outlet, or a club, or maybe even a fan. “Oh I’ve heard this, I’m going to be the first to say it, so now I’ll be trending,” and all that kind of stuff.
And I think clubs are now mindful of first getting you something, it does get you a first early [page views] or something. But you are really looking at–better metrics are–”well how can I extend the time outside, how can I get the fans to read more content.” So that’s where it really does become insider analysis, or talking to a Derek Hine about [trade period], because he’s not talking to the media. And that’s what the fans want. They want more breadth of their content, rather than “Aw, we found out they signed.” That’s being rumored and trade period is a good example of how hamstrung clubs are because you can’t talk about something ’til it goes, you know becomes official. And by the time it does become official, it is old news.
So you’ve got to provide a spin to it and say “you know everything about this guy because it’s been something that’s been talked about forever, and we’re going provide you with something different that all the other major outlets aren’t doing.” Not so much worry about the breaking, but his first words of joining the club, or here’s a bit more insight into the story you aren’t going to get anywhere else.
Jonathon: And I think on that trade front too, our strategy with covering the rumors and stories is we obviously want to be a key player in this period, because it’s so popular for us online, and this is our most popular time outside the draft. And the mentality and strategy we took with that is we said, “Well, we can’t’ obviously cover the rumors, but we can cover what the papers are saying about the rumors.”
So every morning we have on our website, basically just a short, sharp breakdown of who’s saying what about what in relation to Collingwood.” So while we’re publishing that, we’re sort of washing our hands of it as well because we’re attributing it to where it’s coming from. So we still can be a player in that and then as you’ve seen, we signed Jesse White yesterday, and we can get Jesse White and put him in the jumper and getting him to speak on Collingwood TV first, yesterday. Then we get that great content, but at least in this strategy of covering what’s being said about The Club, we’re not losing out on speculation and what we would love to do, but we can’t.
Sean: Yeah. And that’s where Clubs can be in that curation mode and be like “Here’s all things you may have missed.” And still come to you as a source. Looking forward to next year, you flicked me an email yesterday around an issue you’re going to do for the history of Collingwood. Would you mind giving us an idea of what that’s going to be?
Jonathon: Sure, it’s probably one of the most exciting projects our club is looking at in my time here. I think that the club has got such a proud and strong history and it’s something that we’ve done really well to honor. And at those moments that require it, whether it’s 20 years since the 1990 flag, or whatever the case may be, a passing of a player. We do a great job of honoring that.
But where we probably haven’t spent a lot of time on is, not necessarily honoring it, but I guess creating the content around it and then housing it somewhere. Not necessarily because it’s been 20 years since 1990, but it could be the 21st year and some supporter wants to explore 1990. And we have that and we have the ability to do that.
So what we are launching is, I guess under the banner of, “Forever Collingwood.” And there’s a couple of things that go into that, namely one is, Jamie Cooper, who is a world-renowned artist and has painted the 1990 mural for us and that 2010 “Grand Final Replay” painting. That he’s going to paint a mural which encapsulates the history of Collingwood which comprises of moments, places, things that really scream Collingwood.
So whether it’s the simple art form of a magpie, or it’s Mick McGuane’s seven bounces against Carlton. What we’re doing is, to get these moments, they could be 50 moments in this painting; it could be 100. Well, we’re going out to the Magpie army and we’re saying “well what moments do you want?” And we’re just about to launch “forever.collingwoodfc.com.au.” And on that website it will basically give you 100 moments to select from and you can like them if you want them. And if there is a moment you don’t see, and you want a moment to be included, or factored in, you can use the submission form there.
And what we will do towards the end of next year is–Jamie’s in an early stage, he doesn’t have these moments yet–we’ll finalize these moments of the next four or five weeks once we get supporter feedback, and that’s going to go straight to Eddie and Gary Pert. And once those moments are finalized, we’ll give them to Jamie and Jamie will paint this mural of the great Collingwood moments that we’ll launch towards the end of next year.
And in combination with that, every player that has put on the black and white stripes will have their name printed on a Guernsey. This has happened a couple of times across few clubs now. And this will tie in well with the launching of the mural, to honor every player that’s played for Collingwood, and the players will wear that out during the game and those jumpers will be auctioned off with most of the proceeds heading towards the Collingwood Past Players Foundation.
And then we’ll look to develop forevercollingwoodfc.com.au further. We’ll look to create a really strong historical website that this club needs and deserves. I’ve spent a heck of a lot of time looking at what’s already out there across the sporting landscape across the world, and I am still yet to be blown away by a website which tells the history of sporting club, and that’s the goal of this. We want to get to the microlevel and we really want that stats element there, that player profile element there. And we want the stories to be there as well.
So it’s kind of a big project that so many different departments around the club are involved in and while there’s no significant 2014, well it is not a significant year. Well the significance is the history of this club and it’s something that’s been long overdue.
Sean: All very good. I look forward to seeing David O’Donohue who played in 1910, he’s my great grandfather. He played for the ‘Pies I think 53 games in the back pocket. So that’s why I’m a Collingwood man, my great grandfather played for Collingwood over 100 years ago.
So, from a content point of view that obviously is going to give you so much content to integrate into things like The Club and to tell those stories. Is it how you are going to balance the digitally savvy fans versus the history? Because a lot of the people, the digital natives, will be voting for 1990 and 2010, and the McGuane bounce and that sort of thing. Whereas my dad who’s got great-grandpa’s playing certificate in his shed, and he’s out there, and spends a lot of time out there. He’s not on Facebook and he’s not tweeting. And he consumes some stuff, but he would have a stronger memory of the 50s and 60s and 70′s. And how are you going to get that balance of–there’s a lot of history pre-1970, in that kind of website?
Jonathon: Firstly, is it worth alerting listeners to the fact that you are wearing a Collingwood jumper?
Sean: It’s the theatre of podcast. Yes, of course I’m wearing a full Collingwood kit today.
Jonathon: No, I think that is a good point. I don’t think we want to miss the input of those supporters that aren’t on the online space, but I guess what we’re factoring in is how we will communicate this opportunity with the masses. Obviously we’ve got our EDN database which ticks most of those boxes. And also in the way our members are signing up, those members that aren’t signing up online, the numbers are decreasing and decreasing dramatically.
And we are now actually housing a call service center here. And we’ve had that within the club for the last 12 months, and we’ve actually got 7 full-time people that are communicating to our members on the phone every day. And it’s not just up to selling membership, but it’s alerting them to opportunities that are happening at the club. So that’s you know, we’ll take that into account, and also you know between the present and the few historians we’ve got in the club too. We’ve got a core group of historians that wouldn’t know what Facebook does or how it exists, but they can certainly help pick up those moments as well. So we’re pretty confident that we’ll have a great collection that comprises of those moments that people are looking for.
Sean: We’ve had a pretty good chat. I guess one last thing I wanted to ask you is what is the key metrics/drivers for you running the Collingwood Media Department, the digital side of things. What are the key things that you are looking at to build?”
Jonathon: Well, first and foremost, the metrics are extremely important and they’re certainly attached to our performance and it’s something that those above me, who I report to our keenly intent on. I guess I want to say, we pride ourselves now so much on the content and the relationship that we’ve created. That’s first and foremost.
And I think probably when we first started out, we were so obsessed with the number. And even when you come into the Westpac Centre today, you see on the dashboard out there that showcases how many Facebook fans we have, and Twitter fans, and how we rank. And we’ve always been obsessed at Collingwood with ranking number one.
And particularly in those early stages of digital media, that was a clear objective. Since then, I think we’ve realized that, yes, number one has to occur, but it has to occur in a way where we aren’t butchering it, and we’re not butchering the communication. So that’s first and foremost.
In terms of metrics and what we look to really achieve, I think with the success we’ve received with the mobile app in the last 12 months. We’ve had 85,000 downloads of this mobile app and we’ve seen the views change towards mobile. What we’re looking at doing is now is how does this content work on mobile, is it optimized? Now we create everything for the handset and actually the website is now second. And that’s probably the mentality and those metrics surrounding the video views through mobile, page views, time on site. Those type of things are our focus.
Sean: Yeah. I think it is a maturity of the market itself, and the sports market. At first everyone was looking at how many likes we’ve got, and how many follows we’ve got. And it’s an initial thing you want to build, but then once you get past those numbers and it’s something that takes a while to explain to CEOs and that kind of thing–again, not digital natives to really realize that it’s actually how much traffic are we driving from Facebook, how much traffic are we driving from Twitter. How engaged are they, not only with the content overall, but these key pieces.
So if you are doing a piece on the Collingwood Forever stuff how many people are commenting on that or engaging in that? That’s what you want to track the success of each particular piece. Because not every particular piece of content is going to hit the masses, not everyone’s going to love it. And if you put out the highlights after a win, and yes you are going to get a big spike, and all the fans are going to love it. But then you are going to do a profile piece on a player doing something for the community, and you know it’s not going to get those same numbers, but you have to benchmark that particular content against its own theme. So you are not going to compare everything against everything. There are certain pieces of content that are going to go ballistic, and winning does help and all those kind of things. But you have got to have the consistency of when we put out this content it’s going to hit the mark. And you have those metrics of video views and definitely mobile is getting greater and greater all the time.
So thank you very much for coming onto the podcast, and I look forward to footy starting up again in 2014. Hopefully I’ll catch more games next year, without the [moon boot] on.
Jonathon: Sean, it’s been a pleasure
Sean: Thanks, mate.
DJ Joel: Sign up for Sports Geek News at SportsGeekHQ.com/signupnow.
Sean: Thanks to Jonathon Bernard there from the Collingwood Football Club. Hope you enjoyed that. It was a different style of interview, I was hoping to go there in person and also have a bit of a longer interview than the spots that I do on ABC grandstand and halftime. Please let me know if this is the kind of interview that you would like. Something of a little bit longer form that allows us to dive deeper into some of the topics.
Some key takeaways from that discussion with Jonathon was the storytelling element that Collingwood is pretty much using their video strategy for is to tell those longer form stories that traditional media aren’t telling. And also the feedback and the listening that they’re doing on with the fans both what they’re saying verbally on social media and things like that, but also looking at the stats. The fact that the fans were diving in and consuming the longer interest pieces, the story, the stories being told behind the scenes with players, more so than the cliché grabs and press conferences, so a few takeaways there. I put some links in the show notes on some of the things that Jon touched on. Again, love your feedback. Hit me up with an email at email@example.com.
And, next, here’s my chat with Harf on the NBL. And it was actually a couple of days after talking to Jon.
DJ Joel: Sean Callanan, our sports digital media guru, for SportsGeekHQ.com.
Harf: [Taking me through half time] Sean, good day.
Sean: Good day, Harf, how are you?
Harf: Going very well, thank you. Now I know you’re going to say the NBL very shortly, but just going over the news again for Footy fans that Heath Shaw, the deal has been done with GWS. We believe it’s just a straight swap for Tyler Adams, so Shaw to the Giants, Adams to the ‘Pies. And that’s just the way it is.
Sean: It’s been reported as a win-win?
Harf: Everyone has a win-win here. There’s no losers in any of these trades.
Harf: Everyone’s winning, except for the NBL. Although, in the last 48 hours, I said this on Twitter today, in the Basketball Hall of Fame for talking about the elephant in the Australian sport room that is the NBL. And all of a sudden, particularly from our angle over here at SEN and the Melbourne Sporting it’s getting some feeling involved in it, and emotion is everything in sport.
Sean: Emotion, and there is a bit of talk back and a bit of passion, that’s good.
Harf: Emotion is everything–what are you going to do to save it.
Sean: KB has done of good job of sort of stirring up a bit of passion and firing up the basketball community. I think they made some valid points and I think the main issue for the NBL is that they lost a generation of fans. They lost a generation of fans when they went to Foxtel and effectively for 10 years, there was a large majority of the market that didn’t get to see them. And in that time, we did see franchises fall over and move to smaller venues and those kind of things.
But there are success stores in the NBL. The Breakers are one in New Zealand, but that’s a whole country supporting a team, but another one is the Perth Wildcats.
Harf: They are going gangbusters over there.
Sean: They are going gangbusters, but to give you a little bit of a history lesson before they moved to Perth Arena, they were playing in a similar scenario as the Melbourne Tigers. They were playing in a small venue out of town, doing well, filling it up, 2,000 or 3,000 people were attending the games and loving it. But they were out there for so long, and again, it wasn’t getting reach from the TV that, again, they lost a generation. So they had fans who remembered the old days . . .
Harf: Ricky Grace, what a player.
Sean: In the same way that Melbourne fans can rattle of Gaze, Copeland, Bradtke you know, D-Mac.
So they can rattle off all those names and so what we did with the Wildcats, we had to, one, reengage those past fans, so all the time when we’re looking at it from a digital point of view–it’s not just digital. But when you’re communicating on whatever channel, whether it’s TV, radio, or digital media and social, you’re looking at three kinds of fans. You’re looking at fans from the past, and the NBL has a stack of those fans, and you need to identify which ones do we want back. Do we want the ones back that used to go, paid. We don’t want the ones that just turned up for a free ticket. You want the right ones.
You’ve got your current fans. They’re the ones that are filling up the SMS now and saying the NBL is a great product. They’re your current fans. You want to always be continuing to talk to them. And then you want to target your future fans, the ones that are going to come ongoing.
At the moment, I think the NBL is talking a lot to their current fans. And their current fans is a small fan base. Like they are talking to the converted a little bit, and they have to lower their eyes or widen their vision from a court vision point of view and look at how can we reengage that audience that remembers the old NBL.
The big thing is they have to get that lost generation. So that lost generation is between 15 and 25, 28 who haven’t’ seen the NBL in 10 years. They don’t know the players. They don’t know the teams. They don’t know where they’re playing. But the advantage is they are digitally savvy. They are using mobile phones. They are all over Facebook and they are all over Twitter.
So you’ve got to reengage your current fan base, so if you’ve got 3,000 people at The Cage; there are 3,000 people that can advertise to their friends about the awesome experience that it is. I went to The Cage on Sunday. It was a great game. The atmosphere was there. The quality of the guys on court; there’s no question about guys like James Ennis, Goulding, Mac Worthington, those guys there. But we need to get those 3,000 fans to tell the story, and we need to get the players to help tell that story. The social allows that.
And that’s what we do with the Wildcats. We started to reengage with that past fan base that used to go into the city into the games and grew their social numbers to prove that hey, now we’re back in a newer venue. That’s sort of what the Tigers are going to do, and that’s what the NBL needs to do. They need to make sure they are communicating with those other fans. Not just communicating with the basketball faithful.
Harf: With the converted, you’ve got to reach out. As Jack says ‘I want to make some logic and sense over the NBL issues. I’m going to get you in touch with the Melbourne Tigers because you’ve got a handle on what’s going on here. And that would certainly, not only them, but the game going forward, I reckon. All right, Sean. Great to see you, pal.
Sean: Cheers, Harf.
Harf: SportsGeekHQ.com for more details and all that sort of stuff.
DJ Joel: Check out which teams work with Sports Geek at SportsGeekHQ.com/clients.
Sean: Well, that was just my quick take on what the NBL can do. That’s the National Basketball League here in Australia. I think the main takeaway is it’s pretty much coming from my own Sports Geek strategy of past, current, and future. And anytime I’m doing any content whether it be this podcast, tweet, or going on radio and doing traditional media, I always view it as I’m talking to my past, current, and future clients. And I think that’s what basketball needs to do. At the moment, they’re really just talking to their current fans.
So what you really need to do is anytime you’re framing any piece of content, you need to think about who is this content for, who am I trying to target, and have a real purpose behind. Because if you get stuck in just talking to your current fans, which is very easy to do; they’re the ones that are the most vocal, it can be a little bit difficult. You’re not really widening I guess that vision of what you can do with your fans.
So the sounds of the game this week, you can hear it underneath my voice is actually from the Melbourne Tigers game on Sunday. I look forward to seeing how the NBL develops. That wraps up for another episode of Sports Geek podcast. This is episode 22.
As with all show notes, just whack the number at the end of SportsGeekHQ.com/22 to get the show notes and all the links from this episode. I’m also starting to put the podcasts up on Sound Cloud. Go to Soundcloud.com/sportsgeek and give us a follow. Please let me know if you are using Sound Cloud. It seems to be a growing platform for sports with sports radio stations and some teams putting up clips and quotes from press conferences and the like, as well as a few major podcasts in the space using it as a platform as well. So I’m going to give it a go and see how it is and effectively just spread the Sports Geek word on that platform as well.
As always, I’m on iTunes. If you’ve subscribed, thank you very much. If you’ve left a review, again, thank you very much. You can go to sportsgeek.com/iTunes to leave a review. It would be very much appreciated. Or you can just look up Sports Geek podcast in iTunes.
That’s it for me for episode 22. This episode as I nearly forget to dedicate this episode. Because it’s been a Collingwood-based I’m going to dedicate–I nearly wanted to award this episode to Clyde Drexler of the Portland Trailblazers, but since I had Jono Bernard, I’m going to dedicate this episode to Collingwood Premiership Captain, Tony Shaw, who also wore 22 with distinction.
That’s it for me. My name is Sean Callanan from Sports Geek, and you’ve been listening to the Sports Geek podcast. Thank you very much.
DJ Joel: Please leave a review on iTunes. Go to SportsGeekHQ.com/iTunes. Find all Sports Geek podcasts at SportsGeekHQ.com/sgp. Did you know Sports Geek podcast has listeners in over 35 countries? Thank you for sharing. Thanks for listening to the Sports Geek podcast.