Genius’ BetVision Could be Used to Create Immersive Experiences for Core TV Audience
Genius’ BetVision Could be Used to Create Immersive TV Experiences for Core Audience
Genius Sports’ (NYSE: GENI) new BetVision product enables fans to watch high quality, low latency, live streams of nationally televised NFL games, consume real-time statistics and game information, and place wagers on a single screen within online sports betting applications.
The product’s primary goal is “to increase engagement amongst bettors, particularly with live in-play betting, which ultimately drives the business forward of the operators and Genius,” Sean Conroy (EVP North America, Genius Sports Group) said.
However, the publicly traded sports betting data distribution and technology company sees a future where BetVision tech is used to underpin immersive sports television viewing experiences that span beyond gambling.
“Building out the BetVision capabilities and continuing to play a role as a B2B technology provider to the various rights holders, streamers, and broadcasters within the ecosystem is part of Genius’ roadmap,” Conroy said.
The company’s video augmentation technology already supports several streaming and broadcast providers (see: stat-centric TNF feed on Amazon Prime).
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Personalization within the context of broadcast media often refers to alt-feeds tailored to a specific audience (i.e., different destination points).
But Genius leadership believes that “in the not-too-distant future, there will be an environment where everyone lands at the same place and then has choice around how they consume the content,” Conroy said.
The thinking is as traditional media companies further integrate sports betting into their broadcasts, they’ll wind up leveraging BetVision’s content overlays and other functionalities –such as an integrated transactional layer– to deliver more personalized and relevant sports content viewing experiences.
“The key to making a digital broadcast engaging is the productization,” Conroy said. And “offering a bet in real time is no different from offering any other kind of microtransaction.”
That includes e-commerce transactions.
Genius plans to give viewers the ability to purchase sports related products on screen in future BetVision versions. The company has already signed a partnership deal with Fanatics.
BetVision debuted in September. The company said it is pleased with how the product has performed to date.
“We’re seeing really good week-to-week retention, with more people coming to the experience each week,” Conroy said. “We’re [also] seeing some really positive trends around the number of in-play bets placed by people watching the streams, and we’re seeing profit and turnover increasing.”
Jed Kelly (managing director, equity research, consumer internet, Oppenheimer & Co.) expects those trend lines to continue as Genius adds new features to BetVision broadcasts, and begins placing its interactive interface over other properties’ rights.
“We believe BetVision can eventually support live betting adoption while laying on an additional revenue stream for its media offering,” he said.
The NFL is the first major rights owner to permit a high quality, low-latency, full-screen video streaming experience to occur inside of a sports betting application in its domestic market. The league sees BetVision as an extension of its mobile model.
“Traditionally, these sorts of audiovisual streaming rights for sports betting purposes have come with [many] restrictions around what can be done from a productization standpoint,” Conroy said.
But that is not the case with Genius’ NFL deal. There are just two limitations.
“You can only watch on mobile and tablets, and you also need to be betting on the game [on the platform] to access the stream,” Conroy said.
The latter requirement is meant to keep casual fans from using the feed as a substitute for the linear broadcast.
Other sports properties are expected to follow the NFL’s lead, at least the ones able to successfully navigate existing rights deals. Genius plans to offer the product to league partners worldwide.
Caesars, Fanatics Sportsbook, and BetRivers (a Rush Street Interactive brand) have already integrated BetVision within their respective apps. Presumably, the three companies saw an opportunity to increase engagement, handle, and profits.
Fanatics also saw the chance to send a signal to sports bettors and operator incumbents alike.
“When we launched our sportsbook, we said we were going to disrupt the sports betting space with a newly designed product that can add new features quickly that will surprise and delight our customers,” Scot McClintic (chief product officer, Fanatics Sportsbook) said. “Being one of the first sportsbooks in the U.S. to integrate BetVision into our app and offer live streaming of NFL games proves to the world that we are building something special here with the Fanatics Sportsbook.”
BetVision enables fans to place a wager from a bet slip that sits above the live stream.
The digital nature of the solution means Genius (and its sportsbook partners) have valuable information about those watching games in-app; data that can be used to eventually create personalized wagering options.
“Over time, we can look at previous bet activity and start surfacing the most relevant bet types based on what is happening in the game and the bettor’s preferences,” Conroy said. “That should drive further interactivity and engagement as the relevance of the content the user is seeing is heightened.”
BetVision also provides viewers with real-time data and insights they can interact with on screen during the game broadcast.
“Things like graphics with players’ names and stats above the players’ heads. If you have a player prop, you can actually see the offensive lineup and track the player’s progress,” Conroy said. “It’s all engineered towards creating an additive experience for bettors.”
Genius will be adding bet tracking (think: statistical overlays reflecting win probabilities), and could, in time, add the ability for bettors to ‘cash out’ on-screen during the game too.
If the product spurs outsized returns and increases in-play engagement for Genius’ three existing sportbook partners, additional operators will surely move to incorporate the functionality.
For now, large pockets of the market remain focused on merchandising parlay betting.
Second Spectrum powers Genius’ content augmentation technology. GENI acquired the Steve Ballmer backed company for $200 million back in 2021.
Genius is reportedly paying the NFL nine-figures per year. But the company is not relying on BetVision’s success/adoption to justify the spend.
“The data remains the absolutely critical ingredient for a regulated sportsbook in the U.S. who wants to have a first-rate NFL live betting experience with the most reliable, fastest, and richest feed,” Conroy said. “We continue to feel really confident and happy about that business.”
BetVision, however, is a creative way for the company to broaden the scope of its product offerings and derive more commercial value from the rights–particularly if it’s use case proves to expand beyond sports betting.
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