Hello and welcome back! We hope you all enjoyed your quasi-long weekend. It is now back to reality, our brief blogging hiatus is officially over.
Last week, our attention was drawn to the opening of a new, innovative, all-sports website. Its not just the website itself that was so intriguing. We were drawn by several unique features of the website that seemed to mirror key digital trends and its potential implication for the traditional media industry. Some of these features are not dissimilar to some of the trends we alluded to in our previous blog posts on digital disruption.
The website is called 120sports.com. It is a self-described: “Sports network for the digital age”. It is a website that is 100% digital, where all of its content is optimized for and exclusive to their website or their digital app. This is one of the first news websites to pursue such a business model. It is essentially a TV channel available only on the web. Videos can be watched in its archive, or accessed live as it is aired. The difference is, all its video content is exclusively digital, available whenever and wherever it is desired. Below is a brief promotional video they released one month ago.
120sports’ unique positioning affords it with unique advantages and opportunities. For one, the website has properly identified and addressed key digital trends that are radically redefining the way people consume content. For one, consumers are increasingly demanding control over content- they want to watch what they want, when they want and where they want it. By operating on a digital platform, 120sports can provide on demand content across a variety of different screens, i.e smartphones, laptops and tablets. Since it distributes this content digitally, it allows for more flexibility for the consumer who can chose which device they want based on convenience and accessibility. This is not the only area in which 120sports is well positioned to capitalize on key consumer trends.
Numerous studies have shown how the mobile medium is disrupting traditional media channels. One study produced by research firm Millward Brown indicated that consumers spend 47% of their time consuming content on mobile devices. This translates into over 3 hours per day of mobile media and content consumption. Too often, traditional media outlets such as the Washington Post and the Globe and Mail have ignored the glaring demand for more mobile media. 120sports is optimized for mobile consumption through its app designed for smartphones and its website designed for laptops and tablets. They have positioned themselves to benefit from the continuation of mobile proliferation.
Perhaps the most compelling aspect of 120sports’ business model is embedded within the sites URL. 120sports was named because each one of its stories is a video that is no longer than 120 seconds. This means that 120sports will condense as much information as possible into a short, easy to watch video. This is a radical departure from several traditional sources that utilize round-table discussions, full-length interviews and other lengthy segments to convey information.
While it may seem arbitrary, 120 seconds is not a random length. A study by Pew Research showed that the median length of the most popular videos on YouTube is 2 minutes and 1 second– the 120-second target length is hardly a coincidence. Several research reports indicate that children as well as adults are having their attention spans narrowed and are demanding shorter content.
You may not like sports, and you may think that 120sports is doomed for failure, but you cannot deny the trends that have made such a radical idea viable. Consumers are demanding more on-demand access to digital content. They are demanding that the content is dynamic- accessible across multiple screens and platforms. They are demanding that the information they want be condensed into short and pointed video segments instead of long, drawn out articles. 120sports may very well fail. However, it would be foolish to discount its digital-first business model, as it may be the model of the future for media companies.