BT Sport Launch domination: Case Study


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How newsbrands helped BT Sport challenge Sky's monopoly on the broadcast game.

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BT Sport Launch domination: Case Study

  1. 1. Summary: BT delivers the best broadband connecting Briton’s to each other and their passions. What bigger connection is there than sport? For twenty years Sky has monopolised the broadcast game spending millions on acquiring rights and subscribers (who have little choice) serving the typical ‘men in suits coverage’. Not the 2012 spirit we helped build. So the free, live BT Sport channel was launched, starting the biggest David and Goliath match of the decade. Game on. We hit Sky hard, scoring an early win in the all-important newsprint that remains the beating heart of the nation’s engagement with big sport events. Insight and strategy: Whilst BT Sport needed to establish its credentials immediately the BT brand was acknowledged as a provider that ‘got Britain’ and had good will fostered through its part in the amazing success that was the 2012 Paralympics coverage. Sport engagement has never been higher following the Olympics breaking down perceived barriers and being more inclusive and unifying. A new demand for Sport coverage was there but unmet. At the same time the traditional model is under pressure, squeezed households struggle to justify TV subscriptions and even football, the sport arguably closest to the nations heart is becoming out of reach of many wallets (75% consider match tickets too expensive). So our strategy was to go on the offensive, claiming our position as the champion of the nation’s sport coverage, confidentially dominating all the usual ‘go to’ places and spaces from websites to pubs and most importantly the sport pages where we could out play the opposition with our alternative. Prioritising five key match days, the FA Cup Final, last day of the Premier League season, the Champions League Final, Charity Shield and the first day of the new season, we took Sky Sports on in their own back garden, a place they would have traditionally felt most confident.
  2. 2. The launch of BT Sport meant for the first time Sky Sports monopoly would actually be challenged. Because of this, the actual launch date and content of the channel was extremely confidential and something we’d been directed not to share. This would have major implications on how we approached the planning, negotiating and booking of any media but would mean we’d prevent Sky and Mediacom getting wind of our intentions and potentially block them out of the market completely. We expected significant opposition from Sky Sports in counter claims and ad spend, so prioritised our focus and attention at the climax of yet another great Premier League season. What did this look like? A combination of strategy and secrecy meant the end result was highly engaging, we achieved total through the line domination when our campaign was unleashed, not allowing Sky a foothold, putting them out of the game. Our insight was sound; people were ready and excited by something new. But more than just impact it was the way we managed messaging to engage consumer in our proposition like following a sport team, unveiling a line of contemporary commentating talent, showcasing big and niche sports alongside each other in a true spirit of sportsmanship. How did it make the most of news brands in 2013? News brands were critical, the Sporting pages and wider event coverage they offer remain a sacred turf for sports fans of all types and ages so offering us reach, including among our core 18-35 demographic and editorial creditability so reinforce the credentials of our fledgling channel. We utilised the immediacy and excitement of news brands through our key identified match days and maximized the potential here by ‘dominating’ both front half main news and sport. Finally, to cement the relationship and recall with our News brand partners we dominated their homepages too. Drawing calls and clicks from both print and digital. How did news brands interact with and complement other marketing activity? News brands were the lead media for the launch of our channel. Our topical dates chosen to coincide with key sporting events acted as the catalyst for the start of the larger campaign.
  3. 3. - A heavy weight OOH campaign utilizing premium formats and iconic digital sites delivered 87% coverage in targeted conurbations, further showcasing creative executions launched in print that morning across the country. - National Radio campaign that was planned to begin on the 10th May and run through until the start of the ’13 – ’14 season. Our airtime was delivered around sport content to further complement the association conceived in news brands. - In TV we ran one off 60” and 90” creative around selected sporting programming. Again, these long copy spots ran is specific key events such as the FA Cup and Champions League Results:   BT Sport has beaten ESPN average audience figures when comparing against both launch year and last season by an average of 71% (last year) and 99%% (launch year) per week respectively. Achieving 88% brand awareness figures (GFK) from a base of zero. “BT Sport dominations were the perfect blend of timing, positioning and creative standout. Enabling BT to showcase the breath of great premium sport and the fact it is for ‘free’. Providing BT Sport a spring board into the consumer conversation. A successful press strategy that fulfilled a dual role of driving brand awareness and effective response.” Clare Kendrick (BT Consumer Senior Media Manager). Google Trends: “BTSport”