Showtime's Chris DeBlasio Speaks on the Importance of Communication Unification Across Multiple Channels/Platforms in Sports and Entertainment
"Shrinking editorial staffs have definitely had a major impact on how we engage with the media. What's being asked of reporters to cover -- particularly in sports -- is daunting. They're being asked to cover sports that they don't know about that they haven't covered in the past, that is going to inherently make it more difficult to cover a sport like boxing." -- Chris DeBlasio, Showtime
In order to compete effectively in today's multi-screen/multi-platform environment, sports and entertainment organizations must not only present content on all relevant platforms used by consumers, but also tailor each experience so that it is optimized for each medium, according to Chris DeBlasio, Senior VP of Sport Communications at Showtime, in a podcast interview for journalists ahead of the PRSA's InterSections 2018 Conference on August 9-10 in Anaheim, Calif.
In preparing for his upcoming keynote session at the conference DeBlasio shared his views on the challenges and opportunities that SHOWTIME Sports has faced as the competitive landscape has dramatically shifted in the age of the Internet.
While DeBlasio points out that the advent of streaming has had an immense impact on the industry, Showtime chose to invest early in these new technologies.
"That is why we've been at the forefront of streaming from the get-go in sports programming," says DeBlasio. "My team began to live stream boxing events 8 to 10 years ago," in support of the solid following that has emerged around its flagship Showtime Championship Boxing programming.
The move to streaming as a supplement to the Showtime's sporting event line-up created new opportunities to engage in an intimate manner with the serious sports fans who have continued to subscribe and engage with the cable network
"The sky's the limit in terms of options and opportunities to provide subscribers with the content they want in a cost-effective manner."
While the Internet has laid the foundation for recasting how Showtime engages with its consumers, DeBlasio does point out the challenges that it has created as he sets out to communicate with the reporters and analysts who cover his network -- and the sports that they bring to audiences around the world.
"Shrinking editorial staffs have definitely had a major impact on how we engage with the media," he says. "What's being asked of reporters to cover -- particularly in sports -- is daunting. They're being asked to cover sports that they don't know about that they haven't covered in the past, that is going to inherently make it more difficult to cover a sport like boxing which has a much smaller audience than you would for the major audience shareholders -- like the NBA."
On the other hand, he points out, it has never been easier for executives at Showtime to get their message out to relevant outlets.
"Anyone in the company with the authorization to speak on behalf of the company -- or the brand they represent -- can now effectively engage with media, influencers and directly with audiences," he states.
But preparation and message discipline is the coin of the realm if this opportunity is to be effectively exploited.
"To me communication unification is about ensuring that everyone in the company, is well versed on a concise and appropriate message for their brand or product to address any media or medium."