Although Clutchpoints is a startup venture that launched almost three years ago, the innovative news/media company has figured out how to make a unique breakthrough on today’s digital media landscape through video preproduction.
Background and Assets:
Clutchpoints (CP), founded by Nish Patel in December 2015, is a sports news website based in LA that produces social friendly content for its multimedia channels that total to about 20 million fans. Patel grew up a passionate fan of NBA culture, and he involves himself in many parts of the growing media entity that is CP. According to Dillon Reagan, Director of Partnerships for CP, the team consists of 10-15 full-time employees with some part-timers, and it is continually bringing in more full-time talent as the company grows. Additionally, Reagan noted the team owns the copyrights to ClutchPoints, Cavs Nation, as well as its Clutchpoints app’s algorithm. It also has a deal with USA TODAY Sports for photo content.
“We provide our products to all sports fans but primarily NBA and NFL on our social channels.” Reagan explained over conversation. “Our competitors range from Bleacher Report and ESPN to sites like Reddit, where a lot of our fans spend their time. The goal is to take those fans (from Facebook as well) and create our own platform that will enhance their experience as a sports fan.”
Business and Revenue Model:
According to Larry Elin, a professor at Syracuse University, “the biggest source of revenue for many [media] companies is advertising” (p. 2), and Patel recognizes this and, as a 24-year-old, channels his inner millennial mind, explaining how he utilizes his platform to give his audience what they desire.
“Millennials today want two things: Free content delivered right to them + not see any ads (use ad-block),” said Patel. “So that puts us media companies in a pickle in terms of how to monetize our viewers. Especially because the content isn’t cheap to produce at all and original content is even more expensive.”
When it comes to original content on CP, videos produced by rising sports talk personalities like Grady Rains and Da Kid Gowie take the main stage. CP partners with these guys in a mutualistic relationship where they independently pre-produce the content as CP shares it on its massive audience. These video creators gather facts and statistics from all major sporting events, puts them into an entertaining script format, and simply records the footage on the cameras in their smartphones. Because these video makers work on a freelance basis, they can create their own schedules, creating viral content when they feel necessary.
“If we’re going for comments we focus on hot takes and topics where there’s a lot of opposing views in terms of the content,” added Patel. “If it’s shares we’re looking for virality through emotion or parody.”
Videos are also produced in the simplest places, such as inside their own cars, apartments, etc, so scouting for location is an easy process. The carefree nature of sports entertainment allows certain flexibility in how and when content is generated.
Videos from CP typically engage fans of all NBA teams to like, share, or click through video content shared on social media, and Patel has kept a close eye on where the market is shifting in terms of what his viewers enjoy watching.
“At ClutchPoints, I’ve definitely noticed trends of higher performing :30 videos compared to 2-3 minute video campaigns,” Patel continued. “Depending on the way the video is produced, it is optimized for CTR (click-through rate), view, comments, etc.”
This trend Patel noticed follows the same findings the IAB Research Lab found in their case study presentation on digital video advertising. The study determined that 30 second ads had the “highest likelihood of being shared online,” (slide 7) among many other beneficial effects.
Additionally, Goodrich et al. noted how “longer advertisements were associated with lower feelings of intrusiveness, which positively affected brand attitude and purchase intention (good for advertisers) and site attitude or revisit intention (good for Web site owners)” (p. 48). Impressively, CP has found ways to make videos around 5 seconds long succeed in breaking through to their audience. A recent example is the “Share if you believe Lebron James will become the G.O.A.T” video posted near the end of August. This video raked in 3-7 times more views than most other videos shared on CP, and it is only 6 seconds long.
“The way we got 3-7 times was taking all fanbases into account,” Patel explained. “We not only focused on LeBron fans but we wanted our fans to have an emotional connection to the video graphic in general. We used hype (of him passing someone on the list), recognition (graphics of legends he passed) and text that prompted people to share and viralize the content.”
Clearly, CP can adapt their video production skills to many forms and lengths, ensuring their audience is entertained. But as this industry changes, the way people consume sports media changes concurrently. According to some statistics in the “The State of Online Video” Powerpoint presentation, they say among 18-34 year olds, more than 66% of them view online videos together in the same setting, and this age group is very well CP’s target audience. Fortunately, CP prioritizes quality content when creating videos, so simultaneous viewing is enjoyable in all regards.
“For each video, we want to engage all our viewers, regardless of if they’re watching together,” Reagan noted. “If the quality of the content is high enough, the rest will take care of itself.”
As far as looking on the horizon, CP is a humble start up always looking for ideas in and outside the company. Every employee can make as big of an impact as they desire, and the young workers at CP always have open ears to advice on where the industry will move forward. When I mentioned Shaw and Frier’s article on Bloomberg that detailed Facebook’s plan to attract Youtube’s base users by allowing content creators to use copyright music in their videos, Patel was intrigued.
“Copyright with music is an obvious issue for us,” Patel said. “The more epic and relevant the music, is the more we can viralize the content. This will be very helpful in providing our fans with relevant hype music on top of highlights as trending news happens.”
Overall, CP will likely continue to grow as a news/media company. Although they primary gain revenue from advertising, Eytan Elbaz, an esteemed American entrepreneur, recently came on board as one of CP’s primary investors, so exciting opportunities are ahead. This allows CP to venture into pursuing other multimedia projects, such as producing more original content, an animated video series, and creating more brand synergy. CP hopes to remain on the path of growth they have been on these past few years, as the industry can be unpredictable and hard to pinpoint exactly what works in the preproduction process of videomaking.
Elin, L. (2015). Business models and revenue models in the U.S. media. Retrieve from Blackboard
Goodrich, K., Schiller, S. Z., & Galletta, D. (2015). Consumer reactions to intrusiveness of online-video advertisements. Journal of Advertising Research, 55(1), 37–50. https://doi.org/10.2501/JAR-55-1-037-050
Millward Brown & Dynamic Logic. (2008) IAB research case study on digital video advertising effectiveness. Interactive Advertising Bureau, Retrieved from https://www.iab.com/insights/iab-digital-video-ad-effectiveness-case-study/
Patel, N. (2017, September 11). Personal communication.
Reagan, D. (2017, September 1). Personal communication.
Shaw, L. & Frier, S. (2017). Facebook Offers Hundreds of Millions of Dollars for Music Rights. (2017, September 5). Bloomberg.Com. Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-05/facebook-said-to-offer-hundreds-of-millions-for-music-rights
The state of online video. Retrieved from http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Presentations-and-Whitepapers/2011/The-State-of-Online-Video