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Monterosa enters Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 league table

Monterosa enters Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 league table

The industry-defining audience interaction company enters prestigious list for the very first time at number 26

London, 6th September 2019

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Monterosa, the market leader in audience interaction technology, today announced it has entered the 2019 Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 list - the latest list of Britain’s fastest-growing private technology companies – for the very first time at position 26.

The company’s award-winning LViS | Interaction Cloud powers global interactive experiences, including the Love Island and I’m A Celebrity apps, the Official Premier League & Bundesliga Player of the Month votes, and interactivity for the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards.

“Being ranked in Tech Track 100 is an honour and a proud moment for the whole team at Monterosa” said Tom McDonnell, CEO.

“Across three cities: London, Minsk and Liverpool, and working with clients from the USA, to Chile, to Australia, our stellar team work tirelessly to create and support world-class technology that inspires compelling new forms of interactivity. Our growth is also linked to a bigger global trend: the rapidly expanding market for technology that helps businesses regain control of the consumer relationship with interaction, own their data, and to put audiences at the heart of their story.”

The Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 league table ranks Britain’s 100 private tech companies with the fastest-growing sales over the last three years of operation. The list is subsequently compiled by Fast Track with the final 100 published in The Sunday Times on 8th September this year.

The list, which is now in its 19th year, has played host to some of Britain’s biggest success stories, with several alumni going on to become listed companies.

“It’s amazing to be working with such innovative clients who really believe in the power of what we do, and with the millions of fans that get involved and interact with our experiences and platform every year,” McDonnell continued.

About Monterosa

Monterosa is the global leader in audience interaction technology and commerce, providing the platform powering the world’s biggest entertainment and sports properties.

We work with BBC, ITV, Sky, CBS, IMG Arena, EA Sports & The English Premier League, World Rugby, Viacom, and many others to provide audiences with better ways to participate in their favourite TV shows and sports. TV hits include Love Island, X Factor, The Voice and Britain’s Got Talent, where Monterosa tech lies at the heart of the official show apps and interactive experiences across all screens.

We help our clients provide game-changing real-time interactivity that grows  active, loyal audiences directly. We monetise their attention with commerce and first party data.

Our technology is trusted by the world's biggest media organisations and brands to deliver at extreme volumes and securely.  Audience experiences include mobile apps, web apps, social media, messaging, and augmented reality.

Our creative and delivery teams are award-winning experts in interactivity with TV and sport, and we provide round the clock support to ensure creativity and innovation is matched with reliability and peace of mind.

Media Contact

Hannah Murray-Sykes

E: hannah@monterosa.co.uk

T: +44 (0) 20 7269 0555

 

Everyone's a pundit now

Everyone’s a pundit now

September 2019

Fans are an opinionated bunch. Whether it’s in the build up, throughout the game, about player decision-making, manager decisions, or post-match arguments about performances. Powering the official Premier League Player of the Month, has shown us how important it is for fans to have their voice heard, with millions of fans now voting each season and feeling like they’re at the heart of the action. We’ve seen this interactive approach increase dwell times by up to 10x.

Integrating that sort of interactivity has always been an exciting proposition to producers and viewers alike. But creative resistance involves concerns about screen clutter and obstructing the action. But in connected environments where personalising your preferences is the norm, do the concerns of the few need to hold back the experience for the many? The success of Snapchat and, later, Instagram Stories, is one indicator of how content creators can engage audiences when flexibility is provided. Overlaying interactivity on video tastefully is proven to improve engagement, and makes proven business models that utilise competitions/sweepstakes, voting and sports betting more effective. No longer will positive ROI depend on the “big interactive hit”, it will become business-as-usual.

“The future of sports is interactive, immersive and intense. As more sports leagues opt for digital broadcast options, the whole idea of what it means to watch a game is going to change.” - David Pierce, Wall Street Journal

What if we could make those options selective, putting the options in the hands - or should we say at the fingertips - of the viewers? A fan who wants to participate can interact with the content, whereas a more traditional ‘lean back’ viewer will have a completely different experience - all from the same screen, and under their own control.

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Fan behaviour is changing

Fans are paying more, and expecting more. We all deserve more and expect sport to evolve itself as part of our ongoing commitment to investing our time and money in it. Brand sponsors are investing in their own content, influencers and fresh ideas to try and achieve cut-through and engagement that converts passive to active, measurable value.

PWC’s 2018 Sports Survey revealed that a massive 34% of fans view the ability to interact with talent as the most desired feature of live streaming. Everything and nothing has changed: we’re still the same people driven by our passions and intrigue.

With the Euros and Olympics just around the corner, taking place in so many locations and in different time zones, the potential to improve the viewer experience, and the associated return for broadcasters, is immense.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Twitch all provide users with ways to interact with live video via commenting, polling and other mechanics. Following the lead set by HQ Trivia, mobile-first gameshows like Quipp in Germany and Austria (powered by Monterosa for ProSiebenSAT1), and many other versions globally have normalised interactivity with video. Our Quipp show is now expanding into sports, launching a football-themed version in collaboration with Kicker.

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In another bold move, Sky Sports has opted to publish its much sought-after Premier League highlights content on YouTube, for free. For a subscription business that is one of the UK’s biggest ad spenders, the benefits seem clear - the immense additional reach plus retargeting will fill the funnel with leads and certainly generate more subscriptions. But if audiences are moving to more interactive platforms, are we now admitting that traditional broadcast content isn’t enough for today’s sports fans? Red button and multi-camera content has been around for a generation, but maybe the tech was just too clunky and the audience too fresh to the idea of interactivity when the BBC and Sky first pioneered the approach.

“People remain huge football fans but they want choice in how they consume. Some watch Match of The Day because of the analysis, the longer highlights, commentary and the quality of the studio programming but others are very happy with the shorter highlights available on Sky Sports Football YouTube immediately after the game.

It's a different kind of consumption.” - Tomos Grace, Head of Sport for EMEA, YouTube (The Drum)

A different kind of consumption, yes, but from the rightsholder/broadcaster’s perspective, why does this have to happen exclusively on a different platform? Where general consumption behaviours must be catered-for on social platforms, broadcasters’ own propositions have the potential to build consumption models suited to their billion-dollar investments in sports.

This trend for interactivity will inevitably continue. Not as a replacement for lean-back consumption, but a new optional mode that will be driven by innovation, tech platforms and audiences themselves. It will put pressure on the so called “traditional broadcasters” of sports and entertainment to keep up. The cost of not allowing viewers to be part of the action will be measured in reduced dwell times, higher subscription churn rates and declining viewer numbers.

We now live in a world of Twitch extensions, of TikTok lip syncing, where millions of people create interactivity on their Instagram stories every day. Viewers, skewing younger, watch a growing portion of their TV on connected devices. We believe the moment has arrived where the problems can be overcome and that a new generation of interactive options will become a fundamental part of every OTT platform, every broadcaster or rightsholder app that includes video.

Fans just want to have fun!

Let’s not forget that creativity and the resulting enjoyment of great content is the biggest driver of trend and adoption. There is a wow factor with interactive video that once you experience it, leaves you wanting more. Giving your opinion on whether a penalty was correctly awarded with hundreds of thousands of other football fans by simply tapping on the livestream on your mobile phone - seeing the result in real time, then hearing the commentators refer to the live results - that’s fun.

Next summer is going to be a fantastic opportunity to excite and engage national audiences as millions of homes become engrossed in UEFA EURO 2020 and the Tokyo 2020. Passionate fans will be supporting their national team and following their heroes, so why not make it the most interactive, fun and enjoyable summer of sport to date?

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If you hadn’t guessed by now, we at Monterosa are big believers in the power of interactive video. And our LViS | Interaction Cloud - already used to power mass interaction for premium broadcasters, sports organisations and brands around the world - is the quickest, most powerful and creatively versatile platform on which to build an interactive video strategy. Integrating seamlessly with whichever video solution you are currently using, our technology and track record of success are a potent combination.

If you are as excited by the possibilities of interactivity as we are, drop us an email and let’s get started, we’ve got some very exciting developments to share.

 

Gameshow Live gets its kit on

Gameshow Live gets its kit on

August 2019

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After several successful months since its launch on the German market, the mobile-first gameshow Quipp - powered by Monterosa and produced by ProSiebenSAT.1 - is expanding into sports, in particular football, in collaboration with Kicker, Germany’s biggest football publisher.

The live multiplayer gameshow, focused on football knowledge, will kick off every Saturday at 6pm after the Bundesliga games have been played, and also on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to coincide with the Champions League. Each show will carry a prize of €1000 for the players with the sharpest football brains.

This extension of Quipp’s schedule, in collaboration with Kicker, is further evidence of both the creative and commercial potential of the format as well as the flexibility of Monterosa’s platform and Gameshow Live product. Our only question is what is coming next? A) Movies B) Music or C) Classical Composers of the 18th Century

Read more about the new Quipp/Kicker collaboration here (in German).

5 reasons why interactive video is about to explode

5 reasons why interactive video is about to explode

August 2019

People love to interact with their favourite TV shows and live events in their millions. Last month at Monterosa, we handled billions of votes for the MTV Millennial Awards and over 3.5 million users of the Love Island UK app - just two examples out of many.

Most of this interaction happens on smartphones, inspired by persuasive calls-to-action from the TV show that encourages users to download an app or visit a particular website. 

These engagements are designed for the committed and passionate fans that want to put themselves at the heart of the action, make decisions and get real-time exclusive content. It takes some effort to get involved and there is a degree of friction. But how big could those numbers be if the interaction was an integrated part of the watching experience itself? Apple’s Eddy Cue predicts that the future of TV is much more interactive. 

“Cue said he could see a TV environment where content makers are creating a more interactive TV app, and where viewers watch the program on their Apple TV, iPad, or phone, using the remote or simply the touchscreen to interact with a show.”  - The Verge


Of course, this is the long-held promise of interactive video, where participation is integrated seamlessly into, or around the video. 

We’ve seen a string of demos and tests of interactive video over the last decade - whether that’s red button technology or the myriad startups offering watch-and-buy solutions. While those of us from gaming backgrounds have been inspired by the great potential, there have been several factors holding these technologies back from mainstream success: 

  1. Not enough people were watching mainstream content on connected devices

  2. Interactive layers have been obstructive to the viewing experience

  3. Creative executions have failed to inspire audiences with genuine need or pay-off


But we’re now in a world of Twitch extensions, of TikTok lip syncing, where millions of people daily create interactivity on their Instagram stories. Younger viewers watch a growing portion of their TV on connected devices. We believe the moment has arrived where the problems can be overcome and that a new generation of interactive options will become a fundamental part of every OTT platform, every TV app both live and on-demand.

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Here are 5 reasons why:

1. Video just works. Finally!

Talk to any broadcaster or OTT about interactive overlays five years ago and they would wince. “We’re working on making the quality better!”, they would say. Those hard yards have now paid off and the standard of mass video delivery is generally excellent, reliable and slick. Now the focus is on differentiation via better user experiences that increase loyalty and engagement. 

2. Platform consolidation and standardisation

As video providers have consolidated and trends shifted to standardisation, we now see a smaller number of best-in-breed providers and increasing modularity in the tech stack. It’s much easier to introduce new SDKs or plug-ins when dealing with a lower number of video player variants and behaviours. This makes introducing interactivity lower friction and easier to maintain. 


3. Because mobile-first gameshows and interactive social video happened.  

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Twitch all provide users with ways to interact with live video via commenting, polling and other mechanics.

 

Following the lead set by HQ Trivia, mobile-first gameshows like Quipp in Germany and Austria (powered by Monterosa for ProSiebenSAT1), and many other versions globally have normalised interactivity with video.
Within drama, Netflix are experimenting with Bandersnatch, and organisations like the BBC are building branched-narrative creator tools. 

This trend will continue, not as a replacement for lean-back consumption, but a new option that will be driven by the major tech platforms and will put pressure on traditional broadcasters of entertainment and sports to keep up. The cost of not allowing viewers to be part of the action will be measured in subscription churn rates and declining viewer numbers!

4. Because the business models stack up

Ancillary digital activity around TV formats and sports have often struggled to get traction and produce positive ROI due to the friction involved in participation. Traditionally it has been too much effort to type in a URL or download an app for a small moment of interactivity. Only the big moments of decision-making or fully integrated gameshow play-along have driven sufficient take-up to generate profits. 

By reducing friction of new app downloads and overlaying interactivity tastefully, response rates will go up and the business models associated with competitions, voting and sports betting become more effective. No longer will positive ROI depend on the “big interactive hit”, it will become business-as-usual. 

5. Because it’s fun and creativity is everything.

Saving the best for last, let’s not forget that creativity and the resulting enjoyment of great content is the biggest driver of trend and adoption. There is a wow factor with interactive video that once you experience it, leaves you wanting more. Giving your opinion on whether a penalty was correctly given with hundreds of thousands of other football fans by simply tapping on the livestream on your mobile phone - seeing the result in real time, then hearing the commentators refer to the live results - that’s fun. 

Voting for your favourite contestant with virtual ‘claps’ as she or he is singing. Getting ball position/speed information in real-time while you watch a golf tournament. The possibilities are many and will only increase as more creativity is poured into the area.

We have proven time and time again that when the creators of the content themselves - the writers, producers and directors - are involved, interactivity rates soar. For instance within Love Island, Monterosa powers the Watch & Shop service which has generated £15 million in gross revenues. The success is partly down to our own integration of impulse buying to the show’s app, but also linked to the way producers integrate products into the show meaningfully. 

When the creator of Million Pound Drop embraced play-along as a core part of the format, we broke records for live participation and defined a new generation of copycat formats trying to reproduce the success. 

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If you hadn’t guessed by now, we at Monterosa are big believers in the power of interactive video. And our LViS | Interaction Cloud - already used to power mass interaction for premium broadcasters, sports organisations and brands around the world - is the most powerful and creatively versatile platform on which to build an interactive video strategy. Integrating seamlessly with whichever video solution you are currently using, our technology and track record of success combined are a potent combination.

If you are as excited by the possibilities of interactive video as we are,
drop us an email and let’s get started, we’ve got some very exciting developments to share.

 

Monterosa marks continued growth with hiring of industry leader Peter Cassidy

Monterosa marks continued growth with hiring of industry leader Peter Cassidy

London, 2nd August 2019

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With four years of growth across its UK and International Broadcaster client base, Peter Cassidy joins Monterosa to continue the global expansion of the Entertainment sector.

The industry-defining Audience Interaction company Monterosa, who counts ITV, CBS, BBC, Viacom and Banijay Group amongst its growing Broadcaster client base, has marked its mission to lead the interaction and fan engagement space with the hiring of Peter Cassidy.

From Bafta winning work with Endemol and Channel 4 for Million Pound Drop, to creating ecommerce opportunities for Love Island and ITV, to the Screens Up AR App for Nickelodeon, Monterosa is at the forefront of creating innovative and valuable interactive experiences for clients to engage their audiences.


Peter Cassidy, Director of Global Entertainment said “I’m very excited to be joining Monterosa at a moment when audience interaction is fulfilling its promise as an integral part of the entertainment experience. Connecting audiences and making them feel part of their favourite events and shows has long been a passion of mine and I look forward to working with broadcasters worldwide to find ever more innovative ways to make that happen.”

Ben Barker, Monterosa’s Chief Commercial Officer commented “We are excited by Peter’s appointment as a leading figure within the Entertainment industry. Peter brings a wealth of production and broadcaster experience to continue our growth in the UK and Internationally. With Audience Interaction and the focus on OTT platforms for media businesses, Peter joins at an incredibly exciting time for Monterosa as we continue to define the way audiences and fans interact with their favourite programmes.”

Featured in Broadcast: Monterosa hires entertainment chief

 

Love Island 2019: the biggest summer yet of interactive love

Love Island 2019: the biggest summer yet of interactive love

July 2019

As the number of people who say “nah it’s not my kind of thing” has diminished, Love Island’s popularity has increased. With ITV2’s ratings breaking records at over 6 million, 2019 was the year Love Island officially crossed over.

Yet again our app was regularly the most downloaded app in the UK, as fans vote on their favourite, or least favourite couples and reach for a way to carry their summer obsession around in their pocket.

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Under the hood, our Interaction platform LViS provides the content team on set with a unique way to create, test and publish two-way interactive content in real-time. The LViS cloud infrastructure is a special mesh that gives the app immense scalability, the kind that copes with millions of people interacting all at the same time. Reliability is the boring side of mainstream entertainment, but when it matters it really matters.

The Monterosa ecommerce machine scaled in a different way this year. We created the pioneering Watch & Shop service to make TV shows shoppable. As a result we have shown the world how to combine entertainment and direct-to-consumer impulse purchasing, in the process kicking off one of the biggest product crazes of the last three years: the famous personalised Love Island water bottle - more than half a million units sold.

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This year we expanded our range to include personalised suitcases and a fantastic new makeup range Loveburst, made by Established - the New York beauty design outfit that designed Fenty Beauty and Marc Jacobs. Vogue, Glamour and almost every influencer that tried it has been blown away by the quality - achieved because we invested in very high quality Italian formulas.

 

Monterosa-powered Quipp becomes market leading mobile gameshow in Germany and Austria

Monterosa-powered Quipp becomes market leading mobile gameshow in Germany and Austria

July 2019

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Quipp is the mobile Gameshow created by German Broadcaster ProSieben and Monterosa. Every evening players from each country compete against each other to win real cash prizes.

Launched in late 2018, the mobile-first gameshow has fought off stiff competition to successfully become the market leader in both Germany and Austria, hitting the No. 1 spot for most downloaded Trivia game on several occasions.

The Gameshow is produced with a simple but effective green screen production setup, streamed using low latency video that helps to synchronise questions to the stream. Players benefit from features including sharing codes for extra lives and a new set of social play features launching soon.

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The product is powered by Monterosa’s interaction platform LViS and our Gameshow Live solution. The capabilities of the platform include overlaying layers of interactivity on video, running shows in multiple languages concurrently, setting up rehearsals and of course, managing cash payouts securely.

In partnership with ProSieben we have developed the technology as an innovation partnership between the broadcaster and Monterosa’s interactive video team.

To find out how you can benefit from our platform and interactive video solutions, please get in touch.

The Monterosa Liverpool hub, one year on

The Monterosa Liverpool hub, one year on

Monterosa is on a steep growth curve as we expand our footprint around the world, providing audience interaction technology to some of the biggest names in entertainment and sport. This year alone we’ve generated 12 billion interactions through our platform and experiences.

With our Minsk office fillling up quickly and the usual challenges with London recruitment, in 2018 we proudly opened our new engineering hub in Liverpool.

A year on and the growing team has been a pivotal part of delivering interactive products for TV shows and sporting events including This Morning, X Factor, Jockey Club, Nickelodeon USA and, of course, Love Island. No other company in the region, or probably the UK can claim to have created so many No. 1 apps; I think we’ve clocked up 12!

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The most topical right now is of course Love Island. Every time a fan votes on the show or buys one of our personalised Love Island water bottles, that experience was primarily made by our fantastic team in Liverpool. 

“Why Liverpool and not Manchester?” - it’s a question I’m asked almost every week, I’ll do my best to answer.

We chose to expand in Liverpool for several reasons. The city has an amazing history in gaming and invention, choosing to do things differently and often doing things better. Console gaming as we know it was pioneered in Merseyside with companies like Psygnosis, later becoming part of Sony (and where I did my first work experience games testing Lemmings!), proving that you don’t have to be in London or Silicon Valley to be a leading global force in tech and gaming. 

Alongside music, sport is in the DNA of the area, with three amazing football teams (yes Tranmere, you too), and some of the most exciting athletes in recent times coming from Merseyside - Katerina Johnson-Thompson, Sam Quek, Trent Alexander-Arnold...to name just a few.

Through regeneration the city has become one of the UK’s best places to live, with everything London can offer plus a heavy dose of unique Liverpool culture. In tech it’s a challenger city to both Manchester and Leeds, yet the pioneering, individual spirit is unmatched. We decided we would prefer to be a bigger part of a smaller movement than blend into the background. 

There is an immense pool of Merseyside talent working in the city or currently commuting to Manchester or Salford. Nobody enjoys the motorway traffic, so we offer local talent a far more convenient location right on the river, next to the famous Cunard building in the shiny new development on Mann Island. And for those like me who moved to London in search of a career in tech and entertainment, there’s now a place back home that delivers world class technology to all corners of the world. We’re looking forward to welcoming people back to Merseyside, where for £400k you can get a magnificent house, rather than a small flat in the outskirts of London.

But truthfully the foundation of our Liverpool office is that it’s home to me. I was born within spitting distance from our office and grew up in Birkenhead. After so many years working in London, up and down every few weeks, to open our office here is an ambition fulfilled and I’m proud that Monterosa can contribute a small part to the city’s future in tech, entertainment and sport.

Tom McDonnell / Co-founder, CEO Monterosa

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Keep your audience engaged before and after live events with a fan-first digital strategy

Keep your audience engaged before and after live events with a fan-first digital strategy

 
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When it comes to media consumption, we’ve all heard it enough times: digital will become as important as linear in the coming years.

This puts a lot of pressure on sports organisations to think more creatively and diversify the content they create to retain their audiences’ attention.

Will one-off campaigns really be effective enough? PR stunts with buzz that dies down quickly, experiential campaigns that just don’t have the same reach as digital, or even live social media options that don’t facilitate an ongoing relationship in the same way owned platforms can.

The sports industry has an opportunity now to engage fans before and after live events, becoming a bigger part of their daily or weekly routines. We’re always advocating for strategies that create a real connection with your audience - fan-first approaches that are built on regular engagement and ensure you remain relevant.


Source: PwC’s Sports Survey 2018

Source: PwC’s Sports Survey 2018

PwC’s 2018 Sports survey reiterated two key trends in consumer behaviour:

  1. Video consumption is not slowing down, and fans expect this type of rich engaging content outside of live sporting events

  2. Ambassadors are as important as ever, but so is the ability for fans to feel part of the action and participate

The rise in interactivity provided by tech firms, coupled with the availability of live streaming driven by OTT, have enabled new innovative formats for sports organisations to bring fans together.

Some of the most effective approaches to fan engagement, from competitions to quizzes, don’t need to be static or one-way anymore. These can now be turned into live mobile experiences (think HQ Trivia!) that build stronger connections with audiences - combining low latency streaming with real-time fan interactions into an owned platform.


Sports organisations have a huge head-start compared to most. You just need to think about maximising existing assets to create a unique experience to you and your fans:

  • What ambassadors or talent do you have available?

  • What topical content would really hit home with your fan base?

  • How often do your fans want to engage? Daily? Weekly?

  • What are you driving your audience to - a live event, a subscription?

You can then align prizes, rewards and sharing opportunities to your objectives - whether that’s promoting brand partners or your own subscription targets.

Before you know it, you’ll have a new and engaging way to reactivate existing audiences that have become passive, and build on existing audience data with live contextual data. All whilst creating new opportunities for brands to maximise their sponsorship.


German network ProSieben launched this new innovative format to achieve its goals and develop a compelling set of commercial opportunities for brand partners. Live trivia app Quipp helps them capture attention and reactivate existing audiences with a live interactive quiz, broadcast daily at 8pm across Germany and Austria.


 
 
 

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World Cup fans deserve world-class experiences

World Cup fans deserve world-class experiences

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The 2019 World Cup calendar is shaping up to be an exciting one, with the Cricket, Rugby, FIFA Women’s Football, FIBA Basketball AND Netball World Cups all happening across just seven months between May and November.

This is a great opportunity for sports organisations and sponsors to engage fans before, during and after each event with amazing interactive experiences, finding new ways to entertain passionate audiences and attract new fans.

We’ve pulled out some of our favourite fan engagement examples, powered by our award-winning LViS platform and implemented across multiple countries, brands and channels.


Maximising Rights - EA SPORTS 2018 FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup Predictor was central to EA SPORTS FIFA’s engagement strategy this summer and we’re thrilled to see so many fans around the world interact with both experiences.
— Jon Cole, Global Community Engagement Strategist, EA SPORTS

Brand Activation - Carlsberg UEFA Euro 2016

The team at Monterosa helped Carlsberg reinvent fan interaction for UEFA Euro 2016. Their understanding of how fans interact around major sporting events, combined with their technology platform LViS, made Monterosa a critical partner in delivering the most engaging digital platform we have ever undertaken, with incredible results.
— Richard Whitty, Senior Marketing Manager, Football at Carlsberg Group

Attracting New Fans - Vodafone Qatar Football Fever

We’re extremely happy with how the Football Fever campaign has performed, interacting with millions of Qatari football fans, creating real moments of genuine engagement and boosting our brand positioning with a national audience. With Monterosa’s LViS platform we were able to rapidly launch some amazing digital experiences that our customers loved, helping us to own the football conversation for the duration of the World Cup. We look forward to using their fantastic tool to create even more exciting moments with fans in Qatar.
— Nick Gorgoglione, Head of Brand & Communications, Vodafone Qatar

If that’s not enough to get the creative juices flowing, we’re taking bets on which World Cup will have its own live mobile gameshow. Who will come up with a game-changing use for interactive video (think live video stream combined with layers of interactivity on top)?


Who’ll launch the most innovate sports app? There’s so much that can be learnt from the entertainment industry, with big names like Nickelodeon and ITV changing the way they connect with audiences through TV-AR and Instant Commerce.


If you’re looking for a scalable interaction platform that can power awesome fan engagement solutions, then get in touch.

 

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Monterosa and EA SPORTS smash 2018 FIFA World Cup Predictor targets

Monterosa’s LViS interaction platform was selected by EA SPORTS to power their global World Cup prediction experience, smashing engagement targets with over 850,000 fans across the planet interacting with the brand during the month-long competition.

The launch of the EA SPORTS World Cup Predictor coincided with the release of the free in-game FIFA 18 World Cup update, designed to extend the conversation with football fans and create a genuine position for EA SPORTS throughout the competition.

In the run up to the tournament’s big kick-off, EA SPORTS asked fans to predict the top two teams from each Group, continuing through the official World Cup format to predict their overall World Cup 2018 winner. At each step, fans were able to review EA SPORTS’ own prediction, from a pre-simulated tournament they had carried out within FIFA 18 World Cup update, highlighting official FIFA and popular FIFA Ultimate Team visual assets.

Once predicted, fans had the option to first share their result with friends and family through integrated social sharing with Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp platforms, then enter a prize draw for the chance to win a package of EA SPORTS rewards. This extension to the experience proved successful as dwell time with each fan lasted over 16 minutes, more than 100,000 result cards were shared and in excess of 100,000 fans entered the prize draw.

The experience evolved as the tournament began, moving to a daily conversation with fans who carried out an innovative ‘Tinder style’ swipe through a shortlist of players to select their Man of the Match, connecting directly with EA SPORTS’ FIFA Ultimate Team feature to reveal in-game upgrades to chosen players each evening. This regular activity allowed EA SPORTS to continue to blur the lines between the real and virtual games.

Monterosa’s LViS interaction platform was at the heart of the delivery, providing the scale, security and internationalisation (the Predictor was available in 12 different languages) to successfully power always-on interactivity with a massive global audience. The platform’s accessibility and real-time nature allowed EA SPORTS’ Social team to react to tournament events and fan reactions, rapidly tailoring the Man of the Match shortlist to suit.

Jon Cole, Global Community Engagement Strategist at EA SPORTS commented “The FIFA World Cup Predictor was central to EA SPORTS FIFA’s engagement strategy this summer and we’re thrilled to see so many fans around the world interact with both experiences. Without Monterosa’s LViS platform and their experience of exciting global audiences, we wouldn’t have been able to deliver the quality of interaction we did, across 12 languages, to help continue the influence of EA SPORTS FIFA on the World’s Game.”

Ben Barker, Commercial Director at Monterosa commented “We knew coming into the FIFA World Cup that EA SPORTS had ambitious targets to meet, and therefore seeing 12 markets activate our World Cup Predictor and smashing the targets set has been tremendously rewarding for the team. Multi-market campaigns used to be expensive, and time consuming, but the configurability within our platform LViS eliminates these factors for brands looking to maximise global sponsorship.

 

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MIP Preview: Gameshow Live! allows broadcasters and content producers to make next-gen live mobile gameshows

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To coincide with this year's MIP in Cannes, we're thrilled to preview details of our new solution for interactive mobile gameshows, Gameshow Live! 

Check it out here. 

Combining our award-winning interaction platform LViS with low latency streaming and a fantastic array of trivia formats, we're rolling out the solution to help broadcasters, content producers and brands deliver top notch interactivity for live mobile users.

How it works

How it works

Initially GSL will be available to a limited number of clients. If you would like to register your interest or meet up at MIP, please get in touch.

 

 

 

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How we launched 7 massive fan engagement apps in 5 languages, in just 6 weeks

 
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It's been quite the start to 2018 at Monterosa, with the launch of new fan engagement apps in France, UK, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

  • Team GB Olympics App with the British Olympic Association
  • Seul contre Tous (All Against One) with France 2
  • X Factor Denmark with DR
  • Denmark's Got Talent with TV2
  • Dancing on Ice with ITV in the UK
  • Survival of The Fittest with ITV
  • Cue The Music in Finland with TV5 (Discovery)
  • Grand Prix (Eurovision) Denmark with DR
  • Så ska det låta with SVT

All of them have hit Top 10 spots in the local App Store/Play Store, with X Factor, Got Talent and Grand Prix all achieving impressive #1's in Denmark. 

What's the secret to delivering such an array of successful, high-volume engagement apps in multiple languages? Of course, our talented and expert team, but also the robust performance and versatility of Monterosa's "LViS" interaction platform, on top of which our native app product, Fan Companion is deployed.

The powerful combination provides a set of benefits for sports and entertainment organisations:

  • Rapid deployment
  • Robust infrastructure for demanding peaks of traffic
  • Array of interactive 'Elements' like Trivia, Raters, Predictions 
  • Gamification
  • Secure vote management and user verification
  • Integration with CMS, Video Platforms, Ad servers and TV graphics
 
 

Stay tuned to hear more about our major international app releases this year, throughout Europe and beyond!

 

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Thinking of making your own HQ Trivia? 5 things you should think about first

Monterosa started its life creating one of the first interactive TV shows “Test The Nation” for the BBC (remember that?!). Since then we have made interactivity for countless TV formats, the most successful of which was Million Pound Drop — kindly provided us with a shiny BAFTA for the office.

Setting yourself up for success with live interactive formats — whether in the single-device format of HQ or in the realms of TV shows or live events, involves a combination of imagination, business-sense, technology and pure expertise. Not every attempt will be a hit, but by preparing the ground for a great audience experience and massive scale, you’re avoiding embarrassment and giving yourself a chance at the big time.

You wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t already familiar with the global phenomenon that is HQ Trivia., so I’ll jump straight in.

If you’re thinking about making your own version, there are a set of tech and creative considerations you should think about before you kick off. Here are five of them (we’ll leave business model and production teams for another time):

  1. Gameplay
  2. Platform choice
  3. Sync
  4. Security
  5. Live Workflow
 

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How we're powering global voting for EA SPORTS Premier League Player of the Month

Congratulations to Harry Kane, Harry Kane is September's Premier League Player of the Month

Congratulations to Harry Kane, Harry Kane is September's Premier League Player of the Month

The new EA SPORTS Premier League voting experience powered by Monterosa Fan Voice and LViS Platform.

 

More Information
Jonathan Casbon
jonathan@monterosa.co.uk

 

How we're powering global voting for EA SPORTS Premier League Player of the Month

Last weekend we helped EA SPORTS™ capture the attention of hundreds of thousands of Premier League fans. Social channels were awash with branded meme cards as the public chose their EA SPORTS Premier League Player of the Month for September.

It was a big month for EA SPORTS FIFA fans; a month in which FIFA18, the latest instalment of the FIFA gaming series was released, seeing the continuation of Alex Hunter in The Journey: Hunter Returns and the creation of the #ElTornado skill that is sure to be replicated millions of times on playgrounds, pitches and flatscreens around the world.

It was also a month that saw EA SPORTS engage with Monterosa to deliver the official EA SPORTS Premier League Player of the Month vote for the 2017/18 season. The vote, now hosted at potm.easports.com, is the first time the official vote has been made available for fans on the Lead Partner’s channels.

Utilising our LViS platform and Fan Voice voting product, FIFA fans can now review the shortlist of nominated players alongside official stats and videos, vote for their favourite, share their selected vote with friends on social media via a tailored meme generator and submit their online gamer details to enter a monthly prize draw to win in-game FIFA 18 prizes, further integrating the FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) mode which has become so popular amongst gamers across the globe.

We are really excited to be embarking on this new project with EA SPORTS, a brand at the heart of fan engagement with football fans around the world. Make sure you don’t miss out on sharing your opinion when the vote opens again for October’s award, at potm.easports.com.

We hit half a billion interactions in the last 12 months, but what does it mean?

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500 million interactions

We hit half a billion interactions in the last 12 months, but what does it mean?

Recently we recorded our 500 millionth interaction within 12 months, which is about a ten-fold increase on the same time last year. It’s big number, but what does that actually mean? It means people have voted, played, shared or otherwise actively engaged half a billion times with experiences provided by Monterosa and powered by our LViS platform in the last year, all over the world. 

People from 195 countries have participated through a blend of web-based apps such as Carlsberg and UEFA’s Euro2016 Goal of The Tournament, chatbots such as BBC Earth's Happybot, and native apps such as ITV’s I’m a Celebrity. In fact, we’ve achieved 12 #1 apps in France, Portugal, Sweden, Chile and the UK.

A lot of fun, but what is the purpose of all that interaction? That really depends who you are.

For fans: it means getting closer and having an impact on the TV shows, sports or topics you’re passionate about. It’s about getting something you couldn't get elsewhere by participating and being a part of the action. 

For brands: it’s about going beyond badging to genuinely contribute to the fan experience while benefitting from intense engagement, longer dwell times and the opportunity to invoke transactions and data capture.

For sports teams, leagues and governing bodies: it’s about making the fan experience better while providing compelling digital assets to global sponsors. It means owning and controlling the data, providing a way to communicate and market to your audience.

For broadcasters: it’s about providing both live and 24/7 engagement around your TV formats and sporting events, keeping show brands front of mind and giving brands a stepping stone to mobile, more than just a logo on TV. In a world where Google and Facebook dominate digital marketing investment, broadcasters need to offer brands for more than brand presence. They must be able to offer brands a way to engage then interact with fans directly. 

 

Facebook takes Augmented Reality mainstream and doubles down on Messenger Bots

Facebook takes Augmented Reality mainstream and doubles down on Messenger Bots

 
Object recognition, Facebook's refined ability to know what you're pointing your camera at

Object recognition, Facebook's refined ability to know what you're pointing your camera at

Yesterday Facebook announced major platform updates in Messenger, and a new Augmented Reality platform that both have great significance to media, entertainment and sports. 

 

Camera Effects: making AR mainstream?

AR has been exciting for a long time, but there has only been one Pokemon Go - a transitory but seductive view of the future. Now, via a free Facebook tool called AR Studio (currently in closed beta), third parties will be able to create their own Camera Effects. Using a technique called SLAM, the new camera feature found in Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp will be able to detect surfaces and objects; allowing us to 'project' masks, animations, live sports scores, fantasy scores and other data into the virtual world. No headset or special glasses needed. 

Information Overlays, virtual objects for gaming and enhancing real-world objects such as buildings. 

Information Overlays, virtual objects for gaming and enhancing real-world objects such as buildings. 

AR Studio is a 3D tool that will be familiar to users of Unity or Unreal. It supports standard sharing of ephemeral video segments within Stories, and integrates with Facebook Live. Support in the various apps will roll out over the coming months. 

Open to developers and creatives

There are AR toolkits out there already and some of this has been possible before. However, it wasn't built into the world's biggest social network(s), and it wasn't an open platform. Now it's both, and that's a game changer. Snapchat's new lenses will deliver very high quality mixed reality and no doubt provide further inspiration to Facebook much larger machine. Read Facebook's full blog post on the new AR features here.

Take-away: Facebook, if they succeed, will make Augmented Reality mainstream, and with it a host of new creative entertainment and sports possibilities

 

Messenger Platform 2.0 - Fixing Discovery

Building on the growth of Messenger, now with 1.2 billion active users globally, a raft of new features focus on making the platform a better place for businesses of all kinds to engage with consumers.

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The inclusion of a new 'Discover' section in Messenger should solve one of the major challenges with bots - how to discover them. It's basically the Bot Store. Facebook is serious about providing businesses with ways to transact with consumers.

There will also be a new Games tab, with turn-based games getting some focus, and also a new way to scan Facebook's variant on QR codes - with a much better looking visual icon and an app that most people already have, maybe there's life in that old idea yet. 

Take-away: There is now a Bot Store, making it easier to get your bot used, and QR codes may have risen from the dead

Group chat bots - turn groups of fans into customers

A welcome feature for many, bots can now provide input into any conversation using a feature called Chat Extensions. Basically you can bring people together around a task or shared experience - like watching sports or booking tickets, or competing in a game. Or, as we think, doing more than one of those things at a time.

Booking travel in chat groups

Booking travel in chat groups

Whats exciting about this is converging entertainment and commerce. Play and interact together, then buy. For those who want to convert passionate fans into customers, to sell tickets for example, we believe this offers an new opportunity to develop both communities and sales. 

Take-away: group chat is good for businesses that want to make collective purchasing more seamless

 

From engagement to affinity - do we need to stop worrying about views and likes?

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What if that briefest moment of their day is precisely how long that potential customer has spent thinking about, or engaging with, you?

From engagement to affinity -  do we need to stop worrying about views and likes?

We all want to be liked, right? Nowhere is this more true than on social media.

The rules of marketing have been almost entirely re-written in the past decade, and social or content is a massive focus of budget, time and energy for brands wanting to engage key audiences around sport and entertainment properties. Not long ago a few hundred, thousand or better still tens of thousands of, ‘likes’ of a Facebook post, Instagram image or Tweet had everyone in a marketing team congratulating themselves for a job well done. Not only had all of these people seen the hilarious/incredible/groundbreaking 140 characters, story, video or picture, but they had taken the time and liked it too! These are still positive barometers for how consumers feel about what brands create, but should we stop there or use this engagement to go further?

We believe that the world has moved on and what we can now do with this attention has evolved dramatically..

Reality has hit; all this effort and expense channeled into creating fabulous online content, but for what? Other than the rare (and probably unplanned) gem that goes truly viral – where is the value in a ‘view’ or a ‘like’ to a brand?  What if that briefest moment of their day is precisely how long that potential customer has spent thinking about, or engaging with, you?

And that’s what smart brands are looking for now – engagement and interaction. A meaningful relationship or affinity with their audience that adds genuine value and provides a measurable return on investment.

While the definition of ‘fan engagement’ may be unclear, ‘fan interaction’ is clear, definitive and measurably valuable. It’s what we do at Monterosa every day. The best digital fan interaction products provide experiences where repeated interactions can be created, linking a fan with his or her passion point and a brand. They look to create a valuable exchange, where a fan is able to benefit from digital interaction, putting them into a state of mind to greater appreciate a brand and its products. Be it giving fans a voice by voting on big moments or in key sporting tournaments, or playing an addictive game - competing alongside millions of other fans.

Fan interaction and ultimately getting into the palms of new audiences is vitally important for sports rightsholders, brands and entertainment organisations. Once we capture their attention, we take them on a journey leading to greater affinity, loyalty and conversion to sign-up or buy. Whether educating fans about a new sport, re-engaging a lapsed fan, or turning an event follower into a fanatic, it’s all about focussing on the interactions that deliver the best, most valuable experiences.

You see I don’t just want you to like me. I want us to be friends.

Ben Barker, Director of Sport

This article first appeared on DigitalSport.co

Context, timing and personalisation are key to maximising fan engagement

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Context, timing and personalisation are key to maximising fan engagement

 

Fan engagement is a term much discussed but little understood. An increasing array of apps, games, streaming and social network propositions are vying for fans’ attention. That attention is limited; although we spend more time consuming media than we do sleeping, there are limits.

So how can rightsholders, broadcasters and sponsors make sense of it all and make sure they hit the right note with fans to cut through the noise?

In such a fast moving space, the answers will change annually if not faster. In 2017 the key will be good timing, contextual relevance and personalisation.

Prophecies on the future of fan engagement often suggest there might be a singular method of consumption such as VR or AR. But the real answer will be a diverse mix that depends on the demographic and psychographic profile of the fan, the type of sport, the fan’s location and the time of day. The same fan behaves differently in the stadium, in front of the TV and on their daily commute.

As fans we have always benefitted from social currency generated by our shared passion. Today that currency has never been more temporal. Victories, athlete stories and controversies on and off the pitch, now gain instant traction.

As the still-dominant platform for watching live sports, TV or streaming is the jumping off point. Moments are then propelled via social networks (Facebook, Instagram , Twitter, Snapchat primarily), and instant messaging such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

 
 
 

When Alistair Brownlee helped his brother over the line last month, a social media viral hit emerged in less than a day, TV footage of a triathlon gaining more views than TV itself.

But then, almost as fast as everyone was talking about one moment, attention shifts to the next. Even the biggest sporting moments have a relatively short half-life.

There is no singular medium or digital solution for fans, because they use many devices and apps, often at the same time as TV. Despite that, there is one universal fact – fans are hungry and impatient. They need to be entertained, educated, and amused in the moment.

While traditional TV isn’t going anywhere for the time being, apps, social and messaging channels have the advantage of personalisation. An app can send push notifications tailored to your team, a Messaging Bot can speak to you as if it’s your friend. A fantasy game can let you compete with your own friends.

 

 

HSBC World Rugby Sevens: Live Multi-screen Fantasy

 
 
 

Engaging fans on multiple screens simultaneously is a challenging approach that can be particularly rewarding when executed well. HSBC and World Rugby Sevens, for instance, worked with us to speak to a new generation of Sevens fans, to enhance the global TV broadcast and to build a Sevens CRM database.

We created a new breed of live fantasy which attracted fans from 140 countries in 2015-16.

The “Rugby7Stars” game engages fans both between events and while they’re watching live on TV, solving a key problem with traditional fantasy: lack of engagement between events. In the game we created, Sevens fans are given the opportunity to build their fantasy squad between events 24/7 by opening card packs of players from each country, then competing head to head with other fans around the world to steal players.

During the live broadcast, live TV graphics on the world feed feature leaderboards of fantasy players, with commentators calling out fan names making them part of the coverage.

Interaction with live TV or streaming is no longer a gimmick. Although forcing fans to interact during the most exciting moments is an unwelcome distraction, allowing them to make live substitutions in down-moments is a very successful technique.

 

 

How to maximise business value from engaging fans?

It’s essential to be clear about what you’re trying to achieve. Educating new fans, communicating with younger ones, building a database for ticket marketing are all legitimate goals but they can lead to very different approaches. 


 
 
MLB’s Statcast uses live tracking data to tell new stories and create a new sponsored product

MLB’s Statcast uses live tracking data to tell new stories and create a new sponsored product


 
 

It goes without saying that if you aren’t making something significantly better than it was before, your idea won’t last very long. Just look at Major League Baseball’s new StatCast as a product that provides value for fans through new real-time stats and stories based on live player and ball tracking data. It's truly groundbreaking using new types of tracking data never seen before. 

 
 
 

Value for Rightsholder & Sponsor

What we create has the potential to add value for the rightsholder and sponsors, a capability that can be monetised through specific sponsorship from a brand looking to associate with smart data, in MLB’s case that is Amazon Web Services.

 
 
 

We also provided Carlsberg and UEFA with a new take on both Man of The Match and Goal of The Tournament for Euro 2016. The two ‘sole & exclusive’ rights formed part of Carlsberg’s partnership and the brand wanted to activate fans while fulfilling its promise of “doing it better for fans”.

As such, they could simultaneously vote on all platforms including UEFA app, Carlsberg’s football hub, Twitter and Facebook. The experience included video, social buzz, ambassador commentary and personalised meme sharing. For the first time, the brand was able to use goal footage on social media to promote the vote. Delivering an impressive 2 million users and 9 minutes average dwell time, it proved how doing things differently drives attention and brand exposure.

 
 

The Value of Data

Last but not least, sensitively collected data is a both a by-product and for some, the most valuable output of interaction. In Norway with broadcaster TV 2, Monterosa activates fans of a sports reality competition show “Best of the Best”, with a prediction game that drives location-qualified test drive requests for sponsor Renault. Location-qualified leads carry great value to car brands. 


 
 
For our client TF1, one of France’s official broadcasters of Euro 2016, our LViS platform powered a live overlay panel featuring line-ups, live stats and audience reactions.

For our client TF1, one of France’s official broadcasters of Euro 2016, our LViS platform powered a live overlay panel featuring line-ups, live stats and audience reactions.


Forward-looking broadcasters like the UK's Channel 4 recognise that building a registered database of profiled users helps drive premiums on targeted ads and help to target marketing by age, location and interests. 

 

 

Maximising Value: Five Takeaways

 
 
  1. Do something different or better

  2. Pick your moment to motivate action

  3. Request sign-up, purchase or share at the least interruptive time

  4. Personalise the experience wherever possible

  5. Avoid pinning a strategy to a single platform or social network

 
 

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Fremantle's Q The Music launches at MIPCOM. Could interactive TV formats be making a comeback?

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Fremantle's Q The Music launches at MIPCOM. Could interactive TV formats be making a comeback?

Q the Music is FremantleMedia's new interactive music quiz format that premiered to a million viewers in Sweden on national broadcaster SVT. The format will be officially launched at MIPCOM this week.

 
The Monterosa play-along game supports live and on-demand play, and can be embedded in broadcaster's existing apps

The Monterosa play-along game supports live and on-demand play, and can be embedded in broadcaster's existing apps

Contestants and celebs compete to prove their musical knowledge in the high-tech studio, while the audience at home play on their phones in sync with the show. Although pre-recorded, live audience leaderboards are cut into the show as it's transmitted, creating a feeling of live. The app even works for on-demand viewers, using audio recognition technology for synchronicity.

The real-time interactive experience is provided by Monterosa, embedded within SVT's new channel app and now offered to international broadcasters either as a standalone smartphone/tablet app or an embedded module for existing broadcaster VOD apps.

With Q the Music's impressive audience figures and an increasingly loyal mobile audience (participation numbers went up every episode in the series), could this signal post-hype growth of interactive TV formats? 

One might argue that interactivity never went away; prime-time talent and reality shows such as Got Talent, X Factor and Big Brother now involve audiences more than ever through social media, web or apps. A global shift away from SMS or telephone voting towards free mobile voting has proven successful for commercial broadcasters such as ITV in the UK and NBC in the US, who engage brand partners to add value for fans by providing free voting. 

Global production companies Talpa, Endemol and Banijay all have major interactive formats on their rosters and increasingly developing 'connected' TV ideas. 

In a world where commercial broadcasters are competing harder than ever for media and sponsorship budgets, advertiser demand for innovative fan engagement ideas is high. Both producers and broadcasters benefit directly from driving audiences to register or install apps, providing a one-to-one communication channel for targeted marketing and insight generation. 

While interactivity and TV have had their ups and downs creatively, the evidence points to continued audience and advertiser demand. All that's needed now are more bold creative ideas that integrate interactivity into the show format directly, engaging audiences during and after transmission across devices and platforms. 

Get in touch with David Julliene at MIPCOM to find out more about Monterosa's fan interaction platform and products. 

Phone David:  +33 6 03 01 41 91
Email: david@monterosa.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

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