Data in Sport part 2, Ian K Partilla GumGum Sports – Cut the Cliches

Following on from last week’s episode from Sport Accord, Episode 13 was also recorded at the event. And in our second part of data in sport, we turn our attention to AI as we enlist the help of Ian K. Partilla, head of global revenue at GumGum Sports.

The focus of our chat was around the opportunities in sponsorship and digital media. 

In this episode we discuss: 

  • his role at GumGum
  • the opportunities for sports teams in how they categorise their digital and social assets
  • the role of ad-tech in sports
  • what the future of the technology could mean for brands.

Ian K. Partilla started his career in 1998 at the ESPN X Games before joining Disney and ESPN Media Networks focusing on the emerging sports streaming business.  

Five years at NBC Sports Ventures saw him take up VP roles in partnerships and sponsor strategy. 

In February 2018 Ian joined GumGum Sports  an Artificial Intelligence company that leverages computer vision technology to help brands, agencies and rights holders identify the full media value of sports sponsorships. 

He says that by analysing live TV broadcasts, social media and digital streaming, GumGum Sports provides accurate, timely, and comprehensive media valuations. 

Here’s this week’s episode, please let us know your thoughts below:

Transparency issues in ad tech industry highlighted during Programmatic Media Summit

Let me preface this article by saying I have worked with a number of ad tech vendors, doing some stellar work for clients.

But despite having worked in the industry for the last seven years, there remain problems. Long argued issues of brand safety, measurement and an overall lack of transparency in the process of digital ad buying has followed the media narrative around programmatic for much of the last decade. Since 2011 we’ve seen articles like this one from Digiday on the ‘wild west’ of ad tech. But a year of acquisitions has narrowed the ad tech pool of players – and a noticeable shift to reposition as martech companies has been accompanied by increased conversations of education and adding demonstrable business value.

Well Sydney’s ICC played host to some of the industry’s foremost thinkers in the space at last week’s Ashton Programmatic Summit.

To give a little context, it’s well worth, seeing the opening remarks from the IAB’s Vijay Solanki here.

And for further insight on transparency issues, which were highlighted during the event, see Which-50 cover story from Andrew Birmingham in his post here.

In an effort to address the ad fraud, Ad News reports that App Nexus is enforcing ads.txt which it explains: “The IAB’s ads.txt protocol is an effort to crack down on ad fraud in programmatic trading. It makes it much more difficult for fraudsters to commit domain spoofing, where imitation domains mimic premium publisher’s URLs to trick buyers into buying inventory from an unrelated site.”

During the event, Danielle Uskovic, head of digital APAC for Lenovo pointed to the success in the last 10 years of programmatic, going on to claim it’s the future for all media buying “From print to billboard to radio and TV, it’s all going to be served programmatically – so it’s time to embrace it. It’s time to realise that this is the future.”

Uskovic went on to call out naysayers of ad tech, covered by Ad News, to which Mark Ritson has replied in the comments and points out the industry needs to address issues within the ‘murky’ (P&G’s Marc Pritchard’s wording) value chain.

Infamously sceptical about the effectiveness of digital media, Ritson has dedicated his weekly column in The Aus to highlight the discrepancy in margins for media agencies between digital ad buys (typically 7-10 per cent across the duopoly of Facebook/Google) over traditional media (often just 3 per cent for TV, OOH, radio, etc).

The debate is not going away any time soon as industry events will continue to build on the tension between the diametrically opposed Jason Pellegrino from Google and adjunct business professor Mark Ritson.

A brief summary from IAB Sports in Digital Media event

Earlier in the week I attended IAB Australia’s first foray into the sports world. Discussing sports in digital media we had Nine Entertainment, Nielsen and Seven West Media at host Telstra.

First up. Big news for rugby league supporters. The announcement of a new app from Channel Nine and the NRL. What does this mean? In short, viewers will have “greater access to what players go through”. Live stats, powered by Catapult Sports, to accompany the game. And what a game to debut in. Launch will be Game I of the State of Origin series. To find out more Mumbrella spoke to those behind the project.

The wearable GPS technology, once considered the realm of just coaches, will provide fans analysis, like distances covered, while the match is happening. Time-syncing will allow you to go back and find out the heart rate of players like Mitchell Pearce while in the tackle. We can’t wait. Let’s just hope the ‘Datatainment’ description for the product doesn’t catch on.

Sam Brennan went on to explain how Nine segments its audience into 30 profiles, “an important tool for customers to optimise campaigns”. One for the media agency planners. While mainly used to better understand behaviour patterns, this also “influences our content pipeline” said Brennan.

Not to be outdone, Seven had its own nuggets to take away. CDO Clive Dickens said the organisation is focused on growing ‘Total Video’ audiences, (SVOD, streaming with the main slice still being linear TV). Which-50 explains what that means in greater detail.

One of the surprising stats was that Seven’s streaming of the Melbourne Cup achieved more traffic at race time, than the rest of the internet combined! Admittedly this was just on Telstra’s network. But still impressive. And for him it’s about growing all audiences, reaching those which might not traditionally have tuned in had it not been for digital. “Powerful stories raise all of the boats” as illustrated when Dickens added that while digital represented only 3% of Seven’s total audience for the Olympics, that still equates to two week’s worth of Home & Away viewers.

Thanks very much to IAB Australia for having us along.