Minute Media is a leading global sports media and technology company that provides unique social content experiences for fans. The company recently announced a content platform collaboration with Horizon Media, the world’s largest privately held media services agency.We spoke with President Rich Routman and CEO and Founder Asaf Peled about the company’s bid to remake sports media.
Tell us about your company’s beginnings. What did you see (or not see) in the market that led you to launch?
Minute Media originally started in 2011 as FTBPro in Tel Aviv, Israel by Asaf Peled. The initial idea came as Asaf, a huge soccer fan and formerly a Cisco employee, noticed that there was little investment in soccer related startups. He saw an opportunity to build a company that would be focused on soccer and could tap into the growing world of social media to connect like-minded fans around the world. FTBPro renamed itself 90min as it expanded to new markets and languages.
In recent years, Asaf saw the potential to bring the same concept of citizen/fan journalism to other sports beyond soccer. Minute Media opened its NY headquarters in 2016 and hired Rich Routman as president to oversee global expansion and the launch of US brand 12up. Rich previously served as Chief Revenue Officer at Perform Media. Since then, the company has expanded to e-sports with DBLTAP.
What were some of the biggest challenges that your team faced at zero stage?
When Asaf started Minute Media, then called FTBPro, he faced some challenges that likely all start-ups encounter. First, raising funding for a media company back in 2011 was much more difficult than it is today. He worked hard to share his vision for where the industry could be at a time when the media world was skeptical of a contributor-driven media model and the real-world use of social media. Recruiting the right tech talent in a competitive market, especially when your company does not yet have a name for itself, was also a challenge. And then on a leadership level, being a CEO for the first time and understanding the operational side of things was a learning process.
Let’s look at the science behind your product. What makes it different from other offerings in this space?
Minute Media’s technology is a sophisticated content creation management platform that enables social and mobile publishing all in an easy to use and scalable application. Based on the technology, fans can create, publish, share and distribute their own content. We are now reaching more than 75 million people around the world, featuring content in eleven languages from more than 4,000 contributors.
In addition to our own solutions, we’ve partnered with some of the largest media properties in the world to power their own sports content engine. Examples include HT Media in India, ProSieben in Germany and Horizon Media, the largest privately held media services agency, which licenses Minute Media’s publishing tools for their clients.
How do you translate your brand’s message in a way that gets you heard above the noise?
Our platforms – 90min for football(soccer), 12up for US sports and DBLTAP for e-sports – are all dedicated to telling the stories behind the games, players, and teams that fans are passionate about. We break through the clutter by being an authentic voice for the fans because our content comes from the fans. We believe that by giving fans the tools to tell the stories and share their passion, other fans get closer to the games, acting as the next best thing to actually being inside the stadium. This is especially true when it comes to our video series. One of the most popular series is FanVoice in which fan contributors are doing videos from the fan perspective to really capture the excitement and sounds of the games.
This focus on authenticity also translates into what we offer our brand partners. Brands like Warner Brothers, Mountain Dew, Nike and more have turned to us to help target the millennial audience and we’ve helped them develop bespoke advertising solutions that authentically bring their brand into the sports stories covered on our platforms.
Let’s talk about brand values. What means the most to your company besides industry success?
Building community is at the core of Minute Media’s brand values. Sports is the universal connector –fans from all over the world come together to share a common love of the game or team or player. Minute Media’s technology and our brands help make those connections and build communities whether focused on soccer or e-sports or basketball. We also give fans the opportunity to share their love and passion for sports by giving them the tools to create their content, curate it and share it amongst other fans.
There’s always been this rivalry between Silicon Valley and NYC in tech. What are some tangible benefits to being based in NYC?
As a media company, it’s a huge benefit to be part of the media capital of the world and be surrounded by other publishers, editorial teams as well as a large number of the brands we are hoping to connect with. Plus as a company rooted in sports, NY features some of the best sports teams, as well a passionate fan base for international sports, including soccer, which is where we got our start. While Silicon Valley is obviously known for its tech, our tech was actually created in ‘Silicon Wadi’ in Tel Aviv, Israeli, which has been giving Silicon Valley a run for its money lately.
Name one place in your company’s NYC neighborhood that you and your team just can’t live without.
Minute Media’s NY office is on 33rd Street. We could not live without Open Kitchen, which describes itself as a dynamic culinary market place with a wide range of gourmet cuisine options. It’s our go-to spot for breakfast, lunch, and mid afternoon snacks (we practically live there).
Learn more about Minute Media here.