“Watch and Bet” model holds the key to customer retention and acquisition

Paul Witten, Product Director at SIS, assesses an increasing trend towards offering a “Watch and Bet” model for customers, and the benefits for engagement it brings to operators

Over the last few months there has been a growing discussion around the content distribution models as a number of operators are starting to move from bet and watch to watch and bet as the latter gains more traction and technological advances make it a more viable option to operators globally.

It’s long been known that visual content online drives betting revenue as it increases customer engagement and makes it more exciting for the bettor, as it taps into our brain, which processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text. So, even at a time when technical innovation and comprehensive data visualisation appears at its peak, delivering authentic pictures in the most compelling way remains central to the success of any sports product.

At SIS we have continued to focus on optimising the presentation of horse racing and greyhound racing for over 30 years, to help maximise operator margins and revenue, including the use of on-screen graphics, commentary, harnessing the latest streaming technology (which includes multi-angle or split-screen viewing) for better visual impact. Fundamentally, as live pictures become a progressively pivotal acquisition and retention tool for operators worldwide, suppliers would benefit from providing bettors with the ultimate experience 24/7, delivering live pictures and data at low latency.

More specifically, the Watch and Bet model which SIS offers operators worldwide, is helping to increase betting turnover by improving customer retention and supporting customer acquisition. Traditionally the inverse Bet and Watch format – whereby a minimum-stake bet qualifies a bettor to watch the live action – has been used successfully by many UK operators and has been a useful tool for retaining experienced bettors, but bettors must be aware of the content before they place a bet.

However, Watch and Bet has the ability to recruit and educate new bettors, familiarising them with the nuances and visual excitement of the live betting product, not to mention cross-selling to other sports the short-form betting opportunities that horse and greyhound racing present. In fact, a key feature of our new 24/7 Live Betting Channels is that the next race is never more than a matter of minutes away.

The increasing traction amongst operators worldwide for Watch and Bet is no surprise. It puts the needs of the customer first, and it can also help drive more traffic to operators’ sites. Increased engagement has been seen from Watch and Bet in other sectors, for example the casino sector has benefited from live streams on table games, with the live casino vertical now constituting 29% of all European casino gross gaming revenue, according to H2GC Data.

Bet UK have successfully amped up their top-class rugby coverage by introducing a fresh Watch and Bet feature for all Premiership Rugby matches. Within betting on racing, Argyll Entertainment are rolling out the same model across their brands for international horse racing and domestic greyhounds. Clearly, they want customers to place a bet, but it’s about opening the door to new content and putting the controls in their hands.

The advantages of enjoying free content without having to place a bet are now as tangible as they are obvious. Indeed, international operator partners who have switched to the Watch and Bet model have seen improved customer experience, creating an instant spike in retention levels. Watch and Bet can also assist with customer acquisition by embracing first-mover benefits. One of our customers in Eastern Europe introduced new international horse racing content via Watch and Bet leading to a 50% increase in revenue, allowing their customers to become familiar with the product before betting on it. While a major UK bookmaker customer has already seen a double digit increase in racing turnover since migrating from Bet and Watch to Watch and Bet.

In short, Watch and Bet now provides the ideal framework for the delivery of live pictures to help better engage bettors. Allowing bettors to view live sports events around the clock will help keep them immersed for longer, especially when complemented with educational guides (e.g. key trends, track stats, specialist jockeys, hot traps) and on-screen calls to action. Ultimately, it will more likely lead to them placing a bet.

We have certainly seen operators internationally increasingly moving to a Watch and Bet model, which is helping new audiences worldwide to enjoy live racing content, without the ‘price of admission’ proving a barrier to entry.