The Optus example: Brands should use content rights to avert media costs

In this guest post, Henry Innis counters Mumbrella editor Alex Hayes' opinion that by forcing EPL fans to subscribe Optus has damaged its reputation. But it should have chosen marketing over money.

henry innis strategy at BBEOptus have gotten a hell of a lot of flak (possibly unfairly) for their handling of the EPL rights. Alex Hayes at Mumbrella pointed out that the whole concept of using content rights to force consumers into a choice between their telcos has essentially damaged Optus’ reputation, perhaps significantly.

This isn’t necessarily true – Foxtel’s basic package sits at around $26 and its sports package is a $25 add-on, with another optional $10 to get them in HD – the cost of a phone package in itself. For watchers of the EPL a Netflix subscription ($10) and an EPL Optus customer add-on ($15) will likely service most of the same needs.

optus-EPL-sign-up-page-468x154But Hayes has a point that’s pretty critical: by not giving EPL fans an option to engage at least a little with the content they love, the emotional feeling they’ve been given is one of a gun to the head. No one really likes a gun to the head.

Astute commenters have pointed out that Optus needs to do this. It paid over $60 million to secure the rights, after all. How else could it recoup its investment other than in hard, conversion dollars?

Something that isn’t often considered by brands (mostly because their media agencies don’t want to tell them) is the opportunity to avert media cost through marketing.

Social media and email marketing are the two most obvious ways to do this; it basically means getting the age-old permission from your audiences to market to them.

Brands with premium content rights are at a distinct advantage in this battle.

Think about how many EPL customers would have handed over their email addresses and favourite EPL team to Optus in exchange for seeing their team play each week.

The data on that alone is huge; you’ve got a continuous way to put your brand in front of those customers in a relevant way. They’ll want to hear from you and they can’t opt-out of communications.

Suddenly, Optus may have been able to reach a segment of the market without paying a cent for it. Its competitors would be forced to fight for that segment at a much higher margin of effort.

And Optus could also up-sell those customers on premium packages paired with EPL highlights, more premium content and phone packages. Win-win, and the return on investment is immediate via media aversion.

Brands investing in content properties should always look to do this. If you have content and a strong value exchange, chances are that instead of fighting every time to acquire customers, you can fight to acquire their permission.

Once you have their permission it’s no longer a slug-fest of paid media every time you want to reach them with an offer.

And that’s a win for customers and a win for brands.

This article appeared originally on LinkedIn. It has been republished with permission.

Henry Innis works in strategy at BBE


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