The final day of the 2019 NAB Show in Las Vegas was all about what is on the horizon. Two panels I attended really stood out to me and I want to share my takeaways with you.
The first was about how mobile broadband can enhance the in-car experience for radio listeners. The NAB’s VP of advanced engineering David Leyer showed examples of in-car apps that he and his team have developed with the input of both the auto industry and NAB members.
Nearly every car manufacturer has their own proprietary platform and all of those platforms can support apps. David and his team have been sponsoring workshops to get auto industry executives and broadcast executives together to talk about what each one needs from those apps.
His presentation showed examples of radio apps that could provide more than just your typical station information. They can read the host’s Twitter feed to the driver, they can dial a call-in number directly, they can show embedded, actionable ads sold by the broadcaster.
All of it is possible because of mobile broadband, and all of it can lead to a better listener experience and more station revenue.
DTS Radio is a product already available in Europe and will come to the US next year. It turns any radio station into a Sirius XM experience, because when a driver leaves a station’s over-the-air range, DTS will give him or her the option to continue listening to the station via stream.
It doesn’t open up a new world of possibilities. It just makes the existing possibilities easier to take advantage of. That means it opens up a whole new audience for broadcasters and sellers to take advantage of.
The other panel that stood out was about the way brands engage customers and create communities on social media. It was lead by Countable founder and CEO Bart Myers, and it admittedly was at least 50% an advertisement for Countable, an interactive platform that creates communities for brands and celebrities that allow them to bypass a 3rd party social network.
Bart’s reasoning for developing the Countable site and app was interesting though. In the last 8 years, Facebook has decreased a user’s reach to its total audience from 26% down to 1%. Bart saw a company that was more interested in pushing its new products and building its own audience than innovating to remain a valuable business tool.
The other interesting point Bart made about Facebook was the real lack of value that any brand engagement actually has on its platform. What do likes actually do for a business? A like doesn’t mean that the user consumed your content.
What Bart is pushing for is social networks that exist on the brand’s own platform, whether it is embedded in their site or a new social site developed specifically for one brand. His presentation focused on how interaction that has value can lead to deeper engagement and brand loyalty. He used an example that his company had developed for famous attorney Erin Brockovich, who has become an outspoke activist for the victims of the California wild fires.
On her site, users can click a link to directly email their state and federal representatives. They can sign up for alerts and links to live videos whenever a bill related to wild fire relief is being discussed. It is truly a community of like-minded individuals that Brockovich now owns and can utilize for her next cause.
The future seems to be all about control. We can continue to create content, but it will be about creating loyalty that dictates how and if users consume it.
North Carolina Lawmakers Expect Mobile Sports Betting By Football Season
“North Carolina’s neighbors, including Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, have already legalized mobile sports betting.”
It is already legal to place bets in North Carolina on sporting events. It is just incredibly difficult. Bets can only be made inside of 2 Cherokee casinos in the western part of the state. That could change before football season.
The State Senate, which is politically divided, passed SB 688 last year. If it makes it through the State House, it would become law and North Carolinians could then theoretically place bets online legally.
SB 88 was sponsored by Paul Lowe, a Democrat from Forsyth County. He told WRAL-TV in Raleigh that he is optimistic about what will happen in the House.
“We just want to make sure we have drummed up the votes, and I think we have,” he said. “I feel confident about it.”
North Carolina’s neighbors, including Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, have already legalized mobile sports betting.
Politically, North Carolina is considered a purple state. That is showing up in the effort to legalize mobile wagering. One of the bill’s biggest advocates in the House is Jason Saine, a Republican from Lincoln County.
“We’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll. I’ve not heard any new opposition,” he told WRAL. “I think we have a pretty smooth glide path once we do kind of start rolling into session.”
The state’s Lottery Commission would oversee sports gambling. If the SB 688 is passed, operators would pay $500,000 for a five-year license, which can be renewed for $100,000. They would also pay an 8% tax on adjusted gross revenue. Both of those numbers are low compared to other states.
“Once we pass this bill, there’s some tweaks we’re going to do,” Lowe said. “But right now we’re just trying to get it out of the chute.”
Lachlan Murdoch: ‘FOX Bet Has Been Disappointing’
“In a recent interview, he told Axios that the app has around 6.5 million users since its launch.”
FOX is the only network to have a stake in the sports betting industry. The network partnered with FanDuel to launch FOX Bet in 2019. So far, FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch has not been pleased with the results.
In a recent interview, he told Axios that the app has around 6.5 million users since its launch. He called the performance thus far “disappointing.”
Sports betting is a crowded marketplace. It is possible that players are watching games on FOX and seeing advertisements for the betting app, but are choosing to trust their experience to companies like FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, and other companies that are more commonly associated with gambling.
Murdoch believes that a dispute with FanDuel owner Flutter has set FOX Bet back. The two companies have been involved in a standoff over who owns which aspects of FOX Bet and what price FOX is obligated to pay in order to acquire an 18.6% stake in FanDuel. Murdoch says everything “should be resolved by the summer.”
In March, Bloomberg reported that the app is struggling to find new players. FOX Bet is one of the betting partners of the NFL and can advertise its services during games in the fall, but its potential is hindered by only being available to bettors in four states.
Online Sports Betting Not Happening In Maryland In 2022
“Some state regulators had expressed optimism at one point that online sports betting in Maryland would go live by the end of this year or in time for next year’s Super Bowl.”
Online sports betting in Maryland appears to have no shot of happening this year due mainly to the fact that the state’s oversight committee on sports wagering is hung up on how to bring women and minority-owned businesses into the fold.
The Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Committee (SWARC) is currently awaiting results of a disparity study by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.
Some state regulators had expressed optimism at one point that online sports betting in Maryland would go live by the end of this year or in time for next year’s Super Bowl. But given where SWARC is, the whole process is being held up to the point that it’ll likely be later in 2023 before residents can use their phones to place bets.
It’s been just over a year since Governor Larry Hogan signed legislation that legalized sports betting in the state. Since then, five casinos in the state have opened retail sportsbooks.
The casinos have handled more than $132 million in bets since December. $26.9 million in wagers were placed in April alone.