Live sports – long the mainstay of linear – are spreading to streaming.
But as more and more sports-focused streaming services hit the court, they have to stay away from the competition.
Take ClashTV, an online and mobile live streaming platform that has become home to action sports like streetball (a type of basketball played outdoors) and mixed martial arts in 2021. Like other upstart services, ClashTV works with minor leagues and even broadcast some high school basketball.
Sports is a lucrative niche because the level of online engagement is on par with the gaming community, CEO Jonathan Anastas tells me. Anastas became CEO of ClashTV in March after executive marketing roles at ONE Esports, Activision Blizzard and Atari.
Anastas declined to share exactly how many monthly active users ClashTV has, but says it reaches millions of people a month through its website, mobile app and social media.
But ad monetization is slow. ClashTV is still trying to build its viewership and advertisers have brand safety concerns about combat sports under the MMA umbrella. (One word: blood.)
I sat down with Anastas last week to learn more about how ClashTV is trying to monetize its platform.
AdExchanger: Who exactly is ClashTV for?
JONATHAN ANASTAS: The majority of our viewers are between the ages of 18 and 30 and engage in high-action games and tournaments, videos and tournaments that are easy to share or repost.
Our content primarily includes minor league and high school sports, especially where we can help support communities of color. For example, we signed a brand sponsorship deal with Amazon Music earlier this year, where we gave Amazon access to data that could help it identify streetball fans and athletes in exchange for an investment in public park space within underserved communities of color communities.
How does ClashTV monetize?
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We monetize with ads, brand sponsorships and microtransactions on the platform.
We are testing pay-per-view for the most popular content during the season and plan to test monthly paid subscriptions as well. It wouldn’t appeal to our target audience, but since some of our content highlights high school sports, we think parents might sign up for a paid subscription.
ClashTV focuses more on sports teams and less on individual creators. We can charge $25 or $30 for live streetball ad spots, but content generated by a single athlete or influencer would sell for much less.
What is your monetization advertising strategy?
We sell advertising space before and during the video. We also do title sponsorships with brands, which typically involve planning collaborative efforts and creating a flow with brand user integrations, including product placement.
But advertisers are hesitant to spend on live mixed martial arts broadcasts due to concerns about brand safety and suitability, despite high levels of engagement around the sport.
How do you convince brands to invest in ClashTV?
We don’t have a lot of scale yet, but we represent advertisers with a very specific audience that also overlaps with fans of major sports leagues like the NBA.
We also bring brands to an audience that is highly engaged in sports, especially community sports. The average watch time on our platform is 17 minutes and the streetball tournaments we stream generate a lot of activity in terms of likes, comments and shares.
Do you sell inventory programmatically?
We work with programmatic platforms like The Trade Desk and Google Ad Manager to fill pre- and mid-video inventory that we were unable to sell directly. Programmatic is for lower CPMs, but it’s a good way to make sure we’re filling our available ad inventory.
This interview has been slightly edited and condensed.
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