While millions of people were tuned into the opening ceremonies and first weekend of the Winter Olympics, the National Basketball Association was racking up some winter sports numbers of its own during NBA All-Star Weekend 2010 in Dallas: an NBA-record 17 million-plus video streams, up 20 percent over the 2009 weekend — including 4.95 million streams served on Feb. 15; nearly 30 hours of live streaming and original content on NBA.com/TNT Overtime; and a 146 percent uptick for NBA Mobile.
As SVP/GM of NBA Digital, the partnership of Turner Sports and the NBA, Bryan Perez is responsible for NBA TV, NBA.com, WNBA.com, NBADLeague.com, NBA League Pass, broadband and wireless. While the NBA kicked off All-Star Weekend, Perez sat in a red,white, and blue leather recliner in the “living room” section of the NBA TV booth for the paidContent video interview embedded below. We discussed the league’s digital activities; advertising and subscription revenue; the use of social media; its mobile app blitz; and the Turner-NBA partnership. (Look fast during the video and you’ll see TNT’s Ernie Johnson prepping for the live show he was about to do from the open set.) Some highlights:
— Tweet: Players, who aren’t allowed to use social media in game during the season, were encouraged to tweet during the slam-dunk competition. Outside of All-Star, Perez doesn’t see much of an issue about highly paid professionals focusing on the game instead of tweeting. “While I think it would be neat to have players tweeting during an event, it’s probably more hype than reality, because at the end of the day it’s more hype than reality because at the end of the day it’s all about the game and winning and that’s what makes every other moment that they tweet special and relevant.”
— Repurposing:”We sell League Pass (out-of-market package) separately on television, online and on mobile, It’s a great opportunity for us because we’re basically able to repurpose the same game across every single platform but deliver them in a way that adds value. The ability to get it on your mobile phone is worth something to a fan. We’re always about delivering something that fans really want but also trying to extract some of the value from that.” The most money still comes from television but direct-to-consumer efforts are starting to take shape, including League Pass, mobile apps. D2C is in third place after television and advertising.
— Mobile growth: Before All-Star 2009, the NBA didn’t have a single mobile app. A year later, it has more than 100 across iPhone, BlackBerry and Android. “We have fans. We don’t have iPhone fans or BlackBerry fans.”
— Revenue across platforms: Advertisers “actually pay a lot for ubiquitous brand association … 28 percent of our advertisers that advertise across all three of our platforms account for 73 percent of or revenue. … They pay more and they buy bigger because it’s not something they can easily replicate.”
— Video streams: The league passed the half-billion mark for streams just before the All-Star break and Perez expects to hit 1 billion this season through NBA.com. That doesn’t include the new deal with YouTube. Perez: “The YouTube relationship’s only a month old so we don’t have projections for it yet. But we went into this assuming that it was going to be big.”