Morning Buzz

Skipper pulls back curtain on Meadowlark strategy

By David Rumsey

Meadowlark Media CEO John Skipper dove into the financials of the company he and Dan Le Batard started this year at SBJ Media Innovators yesterday. “The specific deal we did with DraftKings is a little bit unique,” Skipper explained. “We did not license the show to DraftKings. We own the feed. They took the title sponsorship and they're selling the ad inventory. … As opposed to buying ads on somebody else's media platform, they want to have content that they can monetize so that they're marketing, their cost-per-customer acquisition is lower. So, that's what we're doing for them.”

Skipper called Meadowlark’s first look deal with Apple an “interesting trade-off.” He said, “If you do a first look deal, you, to some extent, are captive at one place. But you're not really because you take the content they don't buy -- nobody can buy everything -- and travel on. But you did do give up the auction.” Skipper said the Apple deal is practically Meadowlark’s “third source of funding” after the Le Batard-DraftKings deal and the nearly $15M Series A funding completed this spring.

The former ESPN president cited his passion for content creation as the top reason he started Meadowlark. He said, “I wanted to do something that I really enjoyed and what I cared about most in my career … is creating content. And there is no better time to be creating content.” Skipper: “There's more need for content right now than there ever has been or ever will be. And it will last for a while, because of the number of players.”

Skipper also touched on several other hot-button issues during his interview, providing a lively conclusion to Day 1 of the conference in N.Y.

Media Innovators will wrap up today in N.Y. with a half-day program. See highlights from Day 1 below.

SBJ Spotlight: TikTok’s threat to traditional sports media

While tech companies are consumed with finding ways to compete with TikTok, almost no one in conventional media “spends any time talking about it,” said Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka in an Spotlight interview with SBJ’s John Ourand. “To me, that’s just an obvious disconnect.” Kafka authored a recent column headlined, “It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it?” He said the main response to TikTok’s growth from traditional media execs has been to “punt and hope it’s someone else’s problem a quarter from now or two years from now.” But Kafka said that ignores the trend of conventional broadcast audiences growing older while a billion younger consumers spend most of their media time watching short video after short video. “If you’re in the business of getting anyone under the age of 30 to look at what you’re putting on a screen, you have to think about the fact that you’re probably asking them to put down TikTok and watch your thing instead,” said Kafka. “That’s a very difficult ask. … [TikTok] is insanely addictive.”

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