Behind the Scenes at Perform Group – Part Three: Strategy

Behind the Scenes at Perform Group – Part Three: Strategy

Friday, January 16, 2015

After focusing on Perform Group’s technology and marketing operations over the past two days, today, in the last of our three behind-the-scenes features on the digital sports media and data business, TotallyGaming.com asked Ross MacEacharn, managing director of content distribution, to outline the company's future growth strategy.

TotallyGaming.com: Perform has interests in several sectors, but what is the relative importance of the betting and gaming (B&G) sector for the company, in relation to other sectors?

Ross MacEacharn: “Perform generates revenues from many different areas, but the two main ones are our B2B content sales division – which includes our betting business – and the other being advertising, either across our wholly owned portals such as Goal.com, soccerway.com and Matchendirect.fr, or via our ePlayer product – an embeddable sports VOD player which is distributed across 1,800 publisher sites globally.

“Our B2B betting business is clearly an extremely important part of our overall mix. It generates a significant percentage of revenue and profitability, we work with well over 100 clients across the world and a major part of our product development focus is on innovating in this sector. We also work extensively with betting clients across our media estate as they look to take advantage of our enormous reach and distribution and our highly targeted network of users.”

TotallyGaming.com: How do you intend to grow in the sector in the coming year and beyond?

RM: “We will have three main areas of growth across our betting businesses which include the market-leading fast data business RunningBall, as well as our live video service for bookmakers, Watch&Bet.

Watch&Bet has proved to be a popular service for bookmakers worldwide.

“Firstly through increased coverage across all content areas, specifically data and video, expanding the volume of events we cover from existing key betting sports, as well as expanding the number of sports that we offer.

“Secondly via product and platform diversification, over the past 12 months we have launched our new retail video proposition via a deal with Coral in the UK as well as launching our new Content Scoreboard product which brings together our expertise in both video and data and we will continue to roll out new products over the coming months.

“Thirdly we will continue to grow the number of clients we have, as well as increasing the scope of the deals we have with existing partners and by launching into new markets. Additionally we hope to see some growth stimulated by positive regulatory change in certain territories.”

TotallyGaming.com: What will be the key challenges and opportunities in this regard in the B&G sector?

RM: “It’s a very competitive space, which will bring challenges, but we’re confident in the quality of our products and services and that we will be able to maintain our market leading position in the provision of content to betting operators. It’s also a sector which is constantly in the sights of governments and regulators which can bring challenges for our clients but also presents opportunities if regulation is handled sensibly. But ultimately it is still a growing sector and we are well positioned to take advantage of that growth, especially internationally.

Perform Group's headquarters in Feltham, UK.

TotallyGaming.com: Perform is a company that has grown at a rapid rate in recent years. How challenging has it been to tie all of the different moving parts together to develop and market a coherent strategy in B&G?

RM: “It’s been a challenge but it’s one that I’m comfortable we’ve dealt with well. We’ve made two main acquisitions in this space, RunningBall and Opta.

“With RunningBall it was really important that we didn’t do anything post acquisition that damaged the quality and integrity of the data itself and therefore we focused our attention on two things; firstly, integrating the selling and marketing of the RunningBall product into Perform ’s existing operation and secondly, integrating the RunningBall data feed into a number of other Perform products and services, enabling the whole company to take advantage of the breadth and speed of the RunningBall data.

“This ensured that the team responsible for the collection and distribution of the data was able to remain focused on their core responsibilities of speed and accuracy. This delivered excellent results and we have grown our RunningBall business significantly.

“With Opta, it was a slightly different story, as sales of Opta data into this sector were very much secondary to sales to the media sector. However, this itself was an opportunity as the Opta historical data, and specifically its incredible depth, has proved to be of real interest to operators and others for modelling purposes. But both acquisitions  supported our desire to become the major player in the supply of all content (video and data) to the B&G industry and as such have proved very successful.”

TotallyGaming.com: Are further acquisitions likely in 2015 to boost Perform’s activities in the B&G sector?

RM: “We’re always on the lookout for exciting new opportunities be that via acquisition or investment, but nothing I can tell you about now!”

TotallyGaming.com: What sort of staff do you look to recruit at Perform, and with that in mind, what sort of working and reputational culture is Perform’s management looking to build?

RM: “Perform is still a young company and one that is hugely ambitious, and we are looking for anyone who is talented and who shares that ambition, but it’s also important that anyone who works here shares our belief in the right way to do business and hopefully the very strong and long term relationships we have with our clients is testament to that fact. Other than that a passion for sport is obviously important, as well as determination to get the job done.”

Perform Group will be at ICE Totally Gaming (S1-340) next month. For more information about ICE Totally Gaming, visit www.icetotallygaming.com.

To read 'Behind the Scenes at Perform Group – Part One: Technology', click here.

To read 'Behind the Scenes at Perform Group – Part Two: Marketing', click here.

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