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The Business of Sport – James Dobbs – Managing Director at SNTV – Sports News Television

James Dobbs is the Managing Director of Sports News TV (SNTV), the world’s leading sports news video agency. Working with over 200 rights holders globally, SNTV produces and distributes exclusive content every day to more than 1200 broadcast, digital and social media companies.

SNTV specialises in the production and distribution of branded content, as well as optimisation and monetisation of content across social media channels.

James on his journey so far: “I am incredibly privileged, with the businesses that I have worked for. I was fortunate to work in slightly different roles at each, mainly stills at Getty and then moving into the video world with IMG and rights. But I think apart from just learning the ropes, it’s the people I have met. We all say the sports industry is quite a small world, so you tend to come across people down the road, but I have been really lucky with the people I have worked alongside and got to learn from at those two establishments.”

 

James on sports struggling to embrace the opportunity of monetisation: “It is hugely challenging. A lot of organisations don’t have the deep pockets that the top federations do, and so we talk to them and we say “lets invest in this, this is what our audiences want you to produce for them. This is the kind of content you need to produce to engage”. But they don’t necessarily have the budget or the bandwidth or the capability to do that and they need those broadcast or sponsorship deals to be able to invest. But then of course, to get those big deals, and to grow the value to broadcasters, you need to have eyeballs and a huge reach. So it can be chicken and egg. I totally get that it is a huge challenge to invest in a strategy aiming for big returns five years down the road. Thats a really big conversation to have with these organisations. But without a doubt, if you don’t have the eyeballs and you don’t have the grassroots and you don’t have that nascent interest in your game, broadcasters and sponsors won’t come knocking on your door, or if they do, they are going to offer you reduced value.

 

James on future trends: “One of the big challenges, because of the dilution of the sports media industry, with so many social and streaming channels, is that illegal usage and piracy is a genuine problem. At SNTV, it is one of our USP’s that we are an authentic and trusted news organisation, and we in turn only deal with authentic and trusted news organisations, that gives the rights holders comfort with us on a daily basis. But also, the trend that we see is that five years ago, people were not really concerned about what they were seeing, they just wanted to consume content they found entertaining and engaging. What we are seeing now, especially with younger audiences, is that they actually want to know that the content they are consuming is authentic and true and we, along with other news organisations, are increasingly working with the social platforms, and with all of our other publishers and broadcasters to authenticate and make sure content is genuine. There was a bit of a “Wild West” maybe five or six years ago, but now there is a real drive, driven by the consumer, to know that what they are engaging with is accurate and truthful.”