Minute Media Football Fan Content Contribution Platform Powers HT Media Group India
HT Media in India will partner with Minute Media to deliver fan-created curated football content. The Sports Techie community blog chatted via Skype to Duncan McMonagle, SVP Strategy and Partnerships, Minute Media, at their London office about this enormous sports technology opportunity for the Israeli based company to engage with one of the largest digital markets in the world and the number two sized Facebook global country list of users by country. I also queried as to future company plans after raising $45 million in funding such as eSports. India boasts the world’s largest football fan base with 170 million fans, larger than the fandom in Brazil, with more than 20 million fans already engaged on the social media experience. The fusion of sports tech and media is rapidly expanding across the globe making this next-generation deal a win-win-win for both innovative companies and digital soccer fans in India via 90min, Powered by HT.
HT Media Group
Besides the sheer number of soccer fans throughout the nation, the Indian Super League (ISL) has grown thanks to combination of social media, television and fan passion to become one of the world’s largest football leagues. As a result, this new sports tech business partnership aims to leverage the world’s fastest-growing football content sites, 90min and 12up.
The new joint venture will launch 90min, Powered by HT, to serve the faster-growing organic market of millions of hungry football fans in South Asia, both in English and later in Hindi. Built on 90min’s next-generation mobile, socially driven and highly shareable technology, the site plans to offer the latest news, commentary, statistics and visuals on global football to an increasingly passionate Indian market across HT Media Group’s properties.
The Minute Media proprietary content management system has sports specific templates allowing publishers to create story telling pieces. This authentic branded and mobile optimized content appeals to tier one advertisers such as Heineken, Nike and Ford and their own marketing campaigns.
McMonagle stated that despite the size of the Indian market, there is not a real media platform that allows football fans in India a personal voice to share their passions and excitements for the most popular sport game on the planet.
“India is not just home to one of the world’s largest football fan bases, at 170 million and growing, but more than 20 million football fans already are active on social media. That’s where our content comes in,” said Asaf Peled, Founder and CEO of Minute Media. “We see a tremendous need to provide brands, publishers, and fans with a platform to generate and share football related content across web, mobile and social based channels. Our strategic partnership with HT Media is the perfect gateway to introduce our open technology platform into the Indian market and give a powerful voice to the growing number of football fans across India.”
Powered by Hydra, Minute Media’s CMS platform, publishers such as HT Media can feature or embed its rich content across their media properties.
Thus, 90min, Powered by HT, becomes 90min’s social-first fan created football content distributed to millions of fans across India via HT Media’s properties including the English language Hindu Times and Mint and later in Hindi to Hindustan. Also, 90min, Powered by HT will feature football content created by the fans using various multimedia formats including video, slideshows and interactive polls. Finally, 90min, Powered by HT, will feature coverage of the ISL as well as other popular leagues and teams worldwide.
Rajiv Verma, Group CEO of HT Media, said, “We are very pleased to partner with 90min.com, the fastest growing soccer site in the world with over 50 million monthly users, and bring to India 90min.in which provides a platform for the massively expanding number of soccer fans in the country to engage with and be a part of the global soccer community and conversation. 90min.in is a contributor-led offering in English, and soon in Hindi, and is available across web, mobile and social platforms. In the coming months, we intend to build scale into this hyper-connected fan platform, covering of course all of the best of global soccer and the biggest Global tournaments, but also the fast emerging Indian soccer leagues, teams and players. The idea is to bring together the proven platform of 90min to engaging football fans and HT Media’s established reach with audiences, brands and customers. ”
Managing large scale front-end application development by Nickolay Ribal
The 90min partnership with HT Media comes after a year of rapid growth for Minute Media. Its global audience has climbed from 7.5 million unique visitors a month to 55 million global unique visitors in the past 18 months. More than 110 million users engage with 90min through social media monthly and 70 percent of the audience is under the age of 25. Minute Media enables more than 4,000 fan journalists to create a new form of rich, interactive, social content and is currently generating more than 15,000 pieces of curated content per month in 10 languages. Last October, the company closed a $15 million round of funding, bringing its total funding to $45 million, led by leading venture capital firms Battery Ventures, Dawn Capital, Gemini Ventures, North Base Media and ProSieben.
Minute Media is a global, digital, sports media company, powered by socially driven, fan-created content. Their content technology enables fans to create, publish, share and distribute content with more than 50 million people per month. Their content fuses sports stories with everyday culture, creating a fresh new voice in the world of sports media. Minute Media features the fastest growing football brand in the world in 90min and as of May 2016, the fusion of pop culture with US sports in 12up, with several more to come.
Sports Techie, McMonagle was a pleasure to speak with and learn about his role managing Minute Media’s global client partnerships, joint ventures, and introducing new strategic revenue streams after spending a number of years at Yahoo!, where he served as Director, Global Agency Development and as Commercial Head of Sports EU. They now have 100 employees and are based in Tel Aviv.
I pressed him to find out more as to what Minute Media plans to do with $45 million. According to McMonagle, the plan is to “Invest wisely and keep a global outlook.” Third party integrations are another growth area.
I asked him what happens when ESPN, Sky Sports and other media houses particularly in China, copy their platform technology. Because they have an authentic model that produces 400 to 500 articles a day in 10 languages, he felt the competition is not with these giant media companies. They offer native advertising, specifically mobile and not banner ads. Brands like their platform due to the unique content created by fans.
Minute Media plans to enter the niche eSports world next due to the competitive nature of the sport and the natural appeal for both TV and second screen viewers. He also mentioned the fact that 50 million millennials are currently on their platform, many of which are avid gamers playing an average of 8 games a week. Also, no eSports NGB exists making enter easier to manage. Look for Minute Media eSport fan driven content soon.
I presented drone racing, and robot competitions and fighting, as possible directions for the future. At first he did not grasp my vision but after our 30-minute conversation he was on board, perhaps having two young boys helped him grasp what sporting events millennial and gen Z are crazy about.
Snapchat is a millennial staple and I suggested to McMonagle that they may be a competitor. He responded on the contrary, they are a key and important distribution channel, same as Facebook and WhatsApp.
EUFA Euro Cup 2016 is winding down with the last semifinal game between Germany and host France today on ESPN. Minute Media had contributors on the ground in France at the stadiums and fan zones representing 12 nations.
I laid out to McMonagle the idea that by having a Minute Media presence at the Olympic Games in Rio, they are considered guerrilla marketers since they are not an official media partner. While the goal is to create locally relevant content, the company at this time does not plan on having a major presence at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics but will be there.
As a major fan of the Seattle Seahawks, I wanted to know how 12up came to be. I explained the history of the Texas A&M 12th man the Hawks paid to use which later gave birth to 12s. He said it comes from the extra man being the fans, aka 12up.
India, 90min, Powered by HT will be in place for the ISL, Asian Games and World Cup qualifying so make it work by contributing your own content shareable on newspapers, web sites and perhaps even radio stations down the development road.
See y’all later in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world.
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