TVG & a Different Kettle of Fish

Unpopular opinion for $100 Alex......

Mention "TVG" and it elicits reactions ranging from angst, to anger to confusion. A Ted Cruz kissing booth at a New York Times Earth Day party would probably get better reviews. I never not find the comments fascinating.

Courtesy Horse Racing Nation
TVG, and other networks, like HPI TV in Canada, when it had an anchor or talking head,  are very different than an NFL Network or a Golf Channel. Those networks gain revenue from eyeballs, and/or help promote programming that give a boost to the parent sport. TVG and others don't get revenue from that - horse racing is a gambling sport - they get (most) revenues from people betting. So, it's different kettle of fish. We're not telling anyone anything they don't know.

TVG and horse racing is a heavily steeped online sport. Videos of works, online video shows, and the like are front and center. There are no real rights to such events, like there are the NFL combine or draft. Most importantly, you, me and anyone else uses online video to watch the races, because we bet on them. This video - thankfully, it did not used to be this way - is free and readily available.

So, if everyone in the sport - owners, trainers, customers and anyone else - can see a race, a work, an interview and everything else on demand (and in fact this is what makes the sport function) why does anyone need TVG? I guess that's the point.

TVG is not speaking to me or you. They're speaking to people who are not like me and you. They're encouraging new users to use their platform to become long term customers. They're pushing the fun office pool angle with spread tickets in pick 4's. They're trying to get new people and others to take a look at Timeform PP's. They're speaking to a 100% different audience.

Long ago now I was at a conference and was speaking about TV with a few other panelists, including a VP at Woodbine Entertainment. In Canada, the bought time on a sports network (not inexpensive) covered Monday action, with races which were fairly nondescript. The angle was to speak to everyone they always speak with and to - participants and the industry. It was some sort of inside baseball look at blacksmiths, a feed man feature, what a groom does, on and on. Insiders loved the show, but no one watched. What really was needed was a change to a TVG-type model, because it was deader than a doornail and a waste of TV time. They did end up doing that, many years later, and the new show was assailed by insiders, far worse than TVG ever was, or is. However, the numbers were good.
  • In the two-year lifespan of the network program, the total number of new sign-ups has reached 2,086, with over $5.7 million wagered.
  • The new format is proving to be successful as Bet Night Live’s audience is growing. This season there has been a 30 percent hike in viewers compared to the 2009 season of Race Night on The Score.
I wish they took the seeded, guaranteed pool 15% pick 5 suggestion back then (incorrigible that it took them this long for a pick 5, and then they make the takeout 25%, but I digress), because I believe Monday nights, especially with a carryover, could've been handle gold over time. Pools could've been huge and it could've branded the track to players. That was out there thinking in 2007 or so, so I can't blame them. But they did change and it was not a tweak, it was a complete 180.

Regardless, we can gripe that TVG does not speak to the every day player, the hard core. But they don't need the hard core. They need the newer player, looking to spend time learning and handicapping and having fun. It's what they do.

You and I do that on twitter. We do it on facebook; with comments at the Paulick Report or Bloodhorse. We do that with our friends in simo centers. We are already sold on the sport, and frankly, we provide little value added to the network.

Enjoy your Sunday everyone.

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