How Club Roar used its fans to hit 30m grassroots video views in seven months

It's been seven months since Conversant Media launched its Club Roar video platform. Zoe Samios chats with founder Zac Zavos about the platform's progress, why fan-based video works, and his plans for 2018.

When Club Roar was in its early stages, Conversant Media chief executive officer and founder Zac Zavos didn’t even know about it.

And yet seven months later, the platform – which was created to establish a video community for grassroots sporting clubs – has hit 30m video views.

Footage which can be viewed on The Club Roar platform

Video footage is not a new concept for sports publications, but for Zavos, whose publishing company runs title ‘The Roar’, the ‘shortification’ or ‘minification’ of sports content for the younger generations was a large untapped opportunity.

Since its launch, the platform has delivered 30m video views with high level completion for local sports clubs, players and fans, hosted two Club Roar Awards and has partnered with brands such as Volkswagen, EA Games, Tooheys New and XXXX Gold.

Zavos tells Mumbrella the company’s attempt to keep up with the changing habits of consumers has allowed the company to create the “ultimate distillation” of millions of hours of sports footage.

Zavos says Club Roar “distills” sporting moments

“As more and more people have moved towards mobile phones, the question is how do we keep up with that change and the tech landscape we are operating in and Club Roar has not only meant we’ve kept up, we’ve actually almost gone ahead of all media companies in terms of following these emerging trends,” he says.

“In one game there might be one amazing goal or huge tackles or one incredible six to win a match, and what Club Roar does – it distills those moments all around Australia and the world.”

But the success of Club Roar comes down to its community – which Zavos says is a combination of old and new audiences. He believes the loyal community is key for a publisher’s success despite digital media challenges.

“You need the complementary of both and as a publication you have to not be playing catch up, and be always going to where media is going,” he adds.

So far, Club Roar says it is well ahead of the company’s KPIs, but Zavos believes the best relationships are “symbiotic” – in that while there are benefits for the publisher, it is all about giving back to the community.

In exchange for the community videos, Conversant Media has so far given $20,000 back to local communities in the form of prizes.

Club Roar will look to add in new sports and international opportunities in the next six months

“Clubs fundamentally are looking for promotion of their club to a wider sporting audience and it’s good for them in terms of awareness and new members and players. Obviously there’s benefits for our business and great benefits for our audience watching the content and we felt that giving back to clubs was really important,” he says.

But Zavos argues benefits also stretch to advertisers – who now have access to a huge “untapped” area for growth. He says while advertisers may have been interested in local sporting communities previously, the challenge was always reach.

“Brands know that grass roots is genuine and most large brands would never advertise with a local sporting ground because there’s no reach, but they would if they could because it’s a genuine connection with communities and it’s a genuine way of bringing a brand into that sort of emotive community grassroots space,” he says.

“This is a huge area that’s been untapped by brands because they couldn’t. Club Roar brings scale to the genuine grassroots environment and that’s why it’s so powerful.

“The challenge that brands are finding is how do they get emotion and how do they get genuine connections at scale and with reach. That is hard and broadly that’s what Roar offers to advertisers but Club Roar is grassroots video and it has that emotional element and genuine connection with community sport.

And in December this year, advertisers will be given the opportunity to invest in exclusive category partnerships, allowing brands to own an entire Roar category such as ‘Fails and Funnies’, ‘Beastmode’ and ‘The Dream Team’ until Christmas. It aims to give brands the opportunity to trial for the new year.

“We will look for what the attribute is of brand campaigns and filter and find videos within Club Roar that talk to that attribute,” he explains.

Looking to 2018, Zavos says the focus is on continued expansion: “There’s new sports that we are running video from, such as skiing and volleyball.

“We’ve got international opportunities, we have awards planned for next year in summer and winter and one of the insights is we are getting a lot of junior athletes submitting video, and we think there’s an opportunity here around future talent and the next generation of athletes.”


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