WinView, the startup behind a free mobile app that lets users win small cash prizes by making situational predictions during live TV sporting events, has been gathering an audience on its own, but now aims to expand its base by working with programmers, distributors and individual sports leagues.
Nothing’s been announced yet, but discussions are currently underway, according to Tom Rogers, the former chairman and CEO of TiVo, who serves as executive chairman of WinView.
“We’re talking to various players … from programmers to operators to leagues” about how they might be able to participate in the revenue streams that are created by WinView, Rogers said. “I think there’s a real opportunity for people to come forward and benefit from the revenue streams that are developed here.”
WinView has been trying to grow its base of gamers on its own via a free, ad-supported mobile app that syncs up with live TV broadcasts and lets its users predict certain outcomes during games (sometimes called “prop bets”), such as a touchdown pass or a successful field goal in football, or a “safe” or “out” call in baseball. If they’re successful often enough, gamers can pocket small cash prizes.
Rogers said he believes that WinView can help the TV sports industry lock in a new source of revenue amid the significant challenges it’s facing from the general breakdown of the traditional pay TV bundle; the emergence of cheap, sports-free skinny bundles; and a shift in sports rights bidding that has seen well-heeled, major digital players such as Twitter and Facebook continue to make successful encroachments into the business.
“I really think enough forces have been unleashed here that we are entering a period of total rewriting of the rules of engagement when it comes to sports rights, sports revenue, sports distribution,” Rogers said.
WinView, he said, could help U.S. sports TV players compensate for this shift with a new form of revenue from his company’s in-game proposition platform.
“There’s certainly a revenue share available to them, and revenue shares here could be extremely meaningful,” Rogers explained, adding that those who are paying for digital distribution rights will be looking for money angles that extend beyond digital advertising.
WinView also reasons that its platform can boost viewer engagement and retain ratings, as players will have an additional incentive to stick with live games, even if they are blowouts.
“A big new source of revenue that combines social experience, live sports, gaming and mobile/digital viewing is really kind of what the doctor ordered for where this marketplace is going,” Rogers said.
WinView, which has amassed about 40 patents for its platform, isn’t disclosing user figures, as it plans to accelerate its marketing efforts this fall. Helping the cause is a recently secured $12 million “B” funding round from a group that includes Graham Holdings, Discovery Communications, LionTree Partners and Ted Leonsis.
However, WinView has found that it is attracting users from groups that include daily fantasy sports players, seasonal fantasy players, and even casual sports fans. “You are seeing it has appeal across the board in terms of all three of those cohorts,” Rogers said.
WinView has been testing what it takes to convert a TV viewer to a player, Rogers added, and is “very gratified” on the low costs required to make that conversion compared to services such as FanDuel and DraftKings.
WinView is currently free and ad-supported, letting up to 20 people join an individual “room,” but this fall intends to add an entry-free option that will give players an opportunity to win bigger payouts and prizes.
It’s also looking to expand its presence beyond mobile devices and enable its service to run on the TV screen alongside the live games. Integration on other platforms, such as smart TVs, “is very much on the roadmap,” Rogers said.
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