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Paid Content At the DRF?

In Fast Company, the DRF CEO was interviewed and relayed the organization's commitment to leveraging their vast information and technology ecosystem, to gain revenue by initiating a paywall.
  • For the past year or so, Hartig and DRF have given away much of this coverage for free online. But as DRF pivots into even more specialized coverage designed to help gamblers improve their ROI, Hartig has come to feel he’s offering a valuable service for which users should pay. In July, DRF will launch a paid content area of the site. “It will piss off a lot of folks,” he acknowledges. “But it costs a lot of money to invest in this editorial, and in the technology to give you real-time information.”
This strategy is probably sound. The world has changed since Chris Anderson wrote "Free" , but many of the tenets still apply to the DRF and others. It was no shock that Churchill Downs Inc bought Brisnet for nearly the same purpose - to offer incentives to get you, the user, to bet with them by offering you added handicapping value, for "free". This is not really new.

In other businesses, or media, this is not so easy, and eminently unworkable. This morning for example, The Drudge Report linked a Washington Post story about the Justice Department monitoring emails and keycard entries of Fox News reporter James Rosen. If this story was behind a paywall, like so many, Matt Drudge and others on twitter or various social media outlets would simply find another story to link. The Post probably wants the traffic anyway, for impression serving of their ads.

In horse racing it makes sense.

Data, statistics, technology and its assorted spin offs is owned by entities. This has value and handicappers will pay for added value. That they sign up for DRF's betting interface, where the DRF can make anywhere from 10 or 12 percent to 20 percent plus on each of your dollars bet today, all the better.

With horse racing losing market and betting share, we often believe the sport is on its last legs. There is some truth to that of course, but it is still a $11 billion betting business. That's a huge market and DRF, rightly, wants a share of it for the work they do, the information they offer and the technology they invest in. It's not their job to grow horse racing, it's their job to make money.


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