We return to speak to Jason Davis from Siren Media.
When we first spoke (in December 2017) you were only a couple of months removed from doing the first couple of betas and you were about to go live.
Jason Davis: “We did a soft launch that February (2018) and in March we properly launched. We got a couple users pretty quickly, Warringah Rugby Club in Sydney used it for most of their season with great results and we still use that case study today which is great.
“It’s gone in different directions than we could have predicted. It’s taken off faster in non-sporting use cases than in sport because a couple other opportunities that presented themselves. We’ve delivered a white-label version for a university, Brisbane’s Griffith University has two campuses and they wanted to engage with their students while on campus. Rather than blasting a PA announcement or email which students aren’t going to read they’re basically encouraging students to download the app and send them push notifications for announcements and directions.
“We’ve added extra functionality such as widgets from other providers in our platform so we can provide surveys and interactive elements as well.
“In September we signed on the Perth Thundersticks of the new Hockey One league as a client, which keeps adding to our credentials in the sporting space.”
The fundamentals are still the same if it’s a festival, university campus or a sporting event anywhere where people congregate – hyper localised, push notifications, specific local content.
JD: “We certainly can and we’re exploring best use cases outside of sport that involves messaging and content in the health and tourism sectors.
“Given the bushfire disasters over Christmas and the new year and current COVID-19 crisis, we can do geofenced emergency messaging given the region, town or shire.
“We’ve had interest from anything from retirement villages to shopping centres but sport is where our heart is at.”
Speaking of the COVID-19 pandemic, has that impacted your business?
JD: “An interesting update is that we’re suddenly seeing more interest around location-based messaging and marketing around sports venues and leagues. Two of the “lightbulb” use-cases are messaging and marketing into a geofence around a home city for a crowd less game – and introducing a new kind of marketing and communications to fans when they are back in the stadium to make up lost revenue.”
Your background is in rugby league, the early trialling was in rugby union and since our last interview have you worked with a number of organisations.
JD: “The Queensland Reds trialled at the end of 2018 (at Suncorp Stadium) but unfortunately they changed personnel there so it was back to the drawing board with them.
“The big barrier for us sometimes is the uncertain nature of sports rights. This certainly applies to the NRL where they sell a chunk of their rights to a telco like Telstra and they don’t adequately define where those rights start and end.
“I think as time goes on the rights will get a lot tighter and fragmented, it’s happening overseas and will happen in Australia.
“Sports leagues and governing bodies need to tighten up or define what is in and out of the package so that they then have the flexibility with product innovation that doesn’t impinge on rights.”
What’s the biggest milestone you’ve achieved since we’ve talked?
JD: “It’s our two-year deal with Griffith University. The SaaS fee that we’re charging them is helping to pay for the platform so it’s taking the pressure away from the runway shortening. It also opened up another vertical which is great.”
As we reflect, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt then?
JD: “I knew because I had worked in sport broadcasting and media that sporting culture is old-school, but it’s turned out a lot more old-school that I thought. They talk about innovation, which can be a buzzword, but few really embrace it.
“We’ve gone to potential partners and teams and said, ‘Here’s a platform that will generate you more revenue, engage your fans and deliver more sponsors and we’ll do it all for free and run it for you,’ and they have looked at us and said no.
“The lesson is to not assume that if you give someone an irrefusable offer it’s going to be accepted.”