YouTube Channels Football Club
By Michelle Cfas, Mindshare
YouTube has taken its biggest stride towards evolving from a UGC platform to a more „TV tailored to the Web‟ service with the launch of its largest ever content sponsorship. Gillette has teamed up with Google to launch a dedicated football channel which will give fans access to football highlights from around the globe. Touting the partnership as reinventing the way people watch football content online, the deal will see more than 150 channels contributing content to the platform. Details
The Gillette Football Club (“The Best A Fan Can Get”) will bring together HD quality video from YouTube
partners including Spain‟s La Liga, France‟s Ligue 1, Italy‟s Serie A, Germany‟s Bundesliga, and US Major League Soccer; over 50 different clubs, including Manchester City FC, Chelsea FC, and FC Barcelona; and news from sports content providers such as TalkSport and ESPN. Users will have completely free access to their team‟s latest goals and highlights, news and statistics. A performance index tool, powered by Squawka, will analyse matches to identify the 11 best players by region each week to create a Gillette team of the Week.The channel will also include exclusive entertainment & analysis programs created by production company, Big Balls, and new functions such as social gaming to be rolled out after launch. All content, which will be curated by a team of experts including sports journalists, can be tailored to individual users depending on the club and league preferences they select. Implications
The YouTube Original Channel Initiative was set up one year ago as a $100 million dollar program, funded by Google, to bring original content onto the platform. By September 2012, twenty of the one hundred original channels started getting at least 1 million views a week. Whilst the launch of The Gillette Football Club isn‟t necessarily 100% original - it is essentially a YouTube version of FootyTube (http://www.footytube.com/
), a site that aggregates loads of football content - it signals the coming of age of the platform in the eyes of rights holders. For so long seen as having a negative influence on rights values through piracy, rights holders can now clearly see YouTube as complementary rather than competitive if they wish. Listening to the audience, observing their behaviour and adjusting programming accordingly is an ability that digital holds over TV at present. The environment also creates excellent opportunities to engage with the community – building relationships. Brands should consider how to build from this approach. A word of warning, however – the user experience, particularly for the UK consumer, where Premier League rights have not been secured, can be frustrating, with content selected often not available. Whilst it‟s OK to be in beta, what is the long term effect of a frustrating experience on consumers? Summary
The approach reflects the increasing popularity of brand as “curator” of content – as shown by the plethora of content curation tools now available (from scoop.it to Pinterest to Bundlr). But before we all get too excited, we would speculate that the old rules of sponsorship & partnerships still apply: association with entertainment or sport must feel credible to the consumer. Gillette has had a long association with sports, with stars such as Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and David Beckham having previously spearheaded their ad campaigns and having previously funded the ground-breaking Gillette World of Sport for 25 years. The company also has a very strong association with football in particular sponsoring the World Cup. Going to a Gillette space for football content would not feel like a huge leap of imagination & authenticity for consumers. This takes time and commitment.