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Whistle Sports Says Focus on the Story, Avoid Clickbait: Video

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Troy Dreier: Hi, this is Troy Dreier of StreamingMedia.com, coming to you from Streaming Media East 2016, where I'm talking to the thought leaders of the online video industry. I'm joined today by Brian Selander, executive vice president of Whistle Sports.

Brian Selander: Good to be here, Troy.

Troy Dreier: Thank you for joining me. You have to rush off tomorrow for your NewFront presentation.

Brian Selander: We do.

Troy Dreier: By the time this gets on air, it will be history.

Brian Selander: I'm sure, a smashing success.

Troy Dreier: Tell us, what were the big shows you launched?

Brian Selander: Part of our NewFront is explaining to the entire advertising brand and media industry just what Whistle Sports means. We had the idea a few years ago that what passed for traditional broadcast sports was people in blazers like this, about my age or older, talking to people sitting on couches, laying back, and trying to consume media that way. We realize that there was, especially, this young millennial generation of digital natives who grew up with these devices as second-nature extensions of their hand, who were instead consuming things in sports on multiple devices and multiple platforms, multiple occasions, and weren't waiting for appointment TV anymore.

We'll explain the process of how we've been able to grow to 185,000,000 fans and followers. We're growing by 2.5 million a week, so depending upon when this airs, it will be even larger than that. We'll have shows that feature pro athletes, shows that feature incredible YouTube creators and digital content creators, shows that travel the world, and shows that focus on e-gaming, actually, too, which is the fastest growing trend in sports.

Troy Dreier: What I love about Whistle Sports is you're not all about the traditional sports.

Brian Selander: No, not at all. We think that sports, we do focus on what happens in the stadium or in the arena, but sports happens billions of times a day, billions of times a day in back yards, in playgrounds, in places like this. We could probably bring 5 creators in here, and they'd have a couple hundred thousand views on YouTube within 2 or 3 minutes.

Troy Dreier: So this is your second NewFront.

Brian Selander: It is.

Troy Dreier: What is the key to succeeding? It's about presenting yourself to advertisers? You try to create a fun experience in your shows, right?

Brian Selander: We try and have fun with everything we do. My wife said that the good news for me helping launch this company, is I still have the heart of a child, which I think she means as a compliment. Certainly in this industry it is. Yeah, it's to try and remain authentic. You can't hide behind bad performance anymore. There's no chance to say, "Let's give it a few weeks and see if it works. Let's give it a few months." With streaming video and digital content, you know really quickly whether it works or not. I mean the upside of coming to a place like this, is you can find people to help you make that more discoverable, but if the content is not amazing to begin with, you'll know instantly that you don't have a hit on your hands.

Troy Dreier: Now the panel that you're talking on here at Streaming Media East is about OTT success.

Brian Selander: It is.

Troy Dreier: Give us a few pointers. What have you learned? How do you succeed with streaming audiences?

Brian Selander: Sure, well I think streaming's actually a great phrase. I began my career as a journalist years and years and years ago. I thought of back then, people would go to various media outlets as if they were pools or lakes, and they'd fish for a story. You'd go to the Wall Street Journal and you'd say, "I'm going to pull up that story from today." These days, people stand in this massive rushing river of data called your Facebook stream, or your Twitter stream, or your Snapshot stream, and it just comes at you so quickly.           

If you don't have compelling stories, regardless of where that story starts, regardless of which lake that story starts, by the time it hits the information stream, you're just not going to be found. It's ways to be compelling and interesting, but you also have to resist that click bait approach, because you need to know, digital generation especially is particularly savvy at saying, "I clicked on that once, and it tasted terrible." Right? Like, "I found that fish, it was that particular kind of fish, and it turned out it tasted terrible. I'm never going to catch that again." You have to maintain high standards in what you deliver.

Troy Dreier: For this video, I shouldn't say, "You won't believe what Brian Selander says in this video."

Brian Selander: Yeah, that's right.

Troy Dreier: I shouldn't introduce it that way.

Brian Selander: Like, "Jaw dropping secrets from Whistle Sports."

Troy Dreier: There's one weird trick that Brian's going to give us.

Brian Selander: Yeah, yeah, so much trouble. Whistle Sports executive gets in so much trouble.

Troy Dreier: So much trouble.

Brian Selander: Now, I should fall off my chair, actually, if we really want to make it viral. It almost worked, actually.

Troy Dreier: Almost happened. Well Brian, thank you so much for joining me. It's been great. This is Troy coming to you from Streaming Media East.

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