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  • Writer's pictureMatt Cundill

Adam Seaborn: The Sports Podcast Boon

Updated: May 31, 2023

Adam Seaborn is a sports media analyst and head of partnerships at Playmaker Capital. Last year, the Nation Network was purchased for $15 million and perhaps a few eyebrows went up. By 2023 standards, it appears to be a bargain given the dissolution of notable sports radio properties that have disappeared in markets like Calgary, Vancouver, Hamilton and Winnipeg. Of note, Maryann Turke who ran Bell for a number of years, and also worked at the NFL is the company's board director. This is a sector of the content economy that has value with a long runway for growth.

In this episode, you will pick up a few best practices on how to make your sports podcast flourish, what the numbers say between both traditional and digital media, and how we count all this in order to sell it to advertisers.

Please Follow Adam on Twitter... he's a good follow. Because he shares stuff like this.


Some Excellent Sports Podcasts

Montreal Canadiens: Habs Unfiltered.

Habs Unfiltered is the premier independent fan podcast bringing you up-to-date opinions and discussions on all the latest news and stories about the Habs. Trege Wilson, Matt Smith, and Blain Potvin bring you up-to-date unfiltered opinions and insight on the Montreal Canadiens, with in-depth interviews from players to analysts, and broadcasters. If you’re talking about it so are they!!!

Talkin' Buds Leafs Show

The Talkin’ Buds Leafs show, two brothers Talkin’ all things Toronto Maple Leafs! We analyze the team on weekly basis sharing our opinions on all the recent news and events. Our goal is to provide casual and entertaining hockey talk! New episodes every week during the Leafs season.

Calgary Flames: Barn Burner with Boomer & Pinder with Rhett Warrener.

FlamesNation presents Barn Burner: Boomer & Pinder with Rhett Warrener.

5 Days a Week - Monday to Friday - 10:30am to 12:00pm MTN

Live on Youtube / Twitter / Facebook

Dean "Boomer" Molberg, Ryan Pinder and Former Calgary Flame, Rhett Warrener host Calgary's #1 Sports Talk Show.

All things Calgary Flames, Calgary Sports, as well as a dive into the NFL, CFL, MLB, Golf and a variety of the Wide World of Sports

The Edmonton Oilers: Oilersnation Radio

Every week, your favourite voices from Oilersnation spend an hour breaking down the latest surrounding the Edmonton Oilers. Tyler, Rick Dan, and of course, Baggedmilk talk about everything from the last few games, trade rumours, and more. The show features popular segments like Hot & Cold Performers, the Delicious Debate, and Ask The Idiots!

Vancouver Canucks: The PP1 Podcast

A Vancouver Canucks-based podcast about the heralded first power-play unit. Ryan Hank and Ted Wong run the show from Kelowna and keep you informed and entertained on a weekly basis.

Winnipeg Jets: Illegal Curve

Airing Saturday mornings The Illegal Curve Hockey Show provides the most comprehensive coverage of the Winnipeg Jets, the Manitoba Moose as well as news from across the hockey world. Dave, Drew and Ezra keep you up to date each week on all of the latest news.

Winnipeg Jets: Winnipeg Sports Talk

Winnipeg Sports Talk with Andrew "Hustler" Paterson brings you the latest news, analysis and opinion on the local sports scene including Winnipeg Jets, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the major sports and of course betting & fantasy.

Ottawa Senators: Locked On Senators

Ross Levitan and Brandon Piller provide a safe space for Sens fans through lottery pick rebuilds, double overtimes in the Eastern Conference Finals and everything in between. The Locked On Senators podcast supplies insight, stats, opinions and interviews on all things surrounding the Senators organization. The key to staying up to date daily with the Ottawa and Belleville Senators is listening to Locked On Senators Podcast: Part of the Locked On Podcast Network. (@SensCentral on Twitter)

The OHL Podcast

Veteran broadcaster Mike Farwell brings you his unique perspective on the Ontario Hockey League. From his days standing on a milk crate while interviewing players, to spending years on the road with legendary junior hockey broadcaster Don Cameron, Farwell brings you a view of the OHL you simply won't find anywhere else. From Ottawa to Windsor, and from the Soo to Erie, the OHL Podcast has something for every junior hockey fan, bringing you the best stories from the players you cheered...and jeered. Issues and insights. Stories and sarcasm. From the fans to the front office, The OHL Podcast is your online scrapbook for one of the greatest leagues in the world.



Tara Sands (Voiceover) 00:00:01

The sound off podcast. The podcast about broadcast with Matt Cundill starts now.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:00:11

Adam Seaborn is the head of partnerships at Playmaker Capital. That sounds pretty boring until you get a feel for what the group does. Adam is going to explain that in just a bit. He's torque at Kingstar, an advertising agency in Toronto. So, you know, he knows about metrics and ad dollars, and in 2023, it's a challenge to make sense of it all, which is why he's here. One of the reasons we're doing this episode is because there's a lot less sports radio going on and a lot more sports podcasts getting listened to. If you're a content creator or thinking about starting out on your own and separating yourself from traditional media, this episode will be a big help. Adam Seaborne joins me from Toronto, Canada. Tell me, what is Playmaker?

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:00:54

So Playmaker is Playmaker capital. I'll start by that saying Playmaker capital. There's actually another company called Playmaker out there, often confused for one another. But Playmaker Capital has been around for just about two years now. We are a publicly traded company in Toronto, and we're a sports media company. The idea of the company really started a few years ago now, around all the changes happening in sports, sports media, sports technology, sports viewership, sports gambling. There's a lot of opportunity, a lot of change happening. This would have been in 2019, and since then, Playmakers really operated kind of like a private equity fund would in terms of investing and acquiring sports media companies, rolling them up together to create something that's globally relevant in sports. And we're still very much, we think, in the first inning, to use a bad sports analogy, of where things are. But we're really happy with where we've grown so far and where things are going.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:01:44

I think a lot of people in podcasting would say that it's maybe the third or fourth inning yet when it comes to sports, we're really talking about the first inning. And I think the gambling component has a lot to do with it. You mentioned you're global, but there's other parts of the world that have had gambling for a long time. So is North America legalizing gambling? Was that when the light went off here in 2019 to make a bigger jump into this?

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:02:10

Yeah, I think that that's part of it. I think gambling is an important part of what Playmaker does and an important part of how we work with partners. But it's really not the whole business. We're not a gambling operator. We do not take any bets anywhere. We're really the picks and shovels for that business in a lot of ways, but also for traditional sports advertisers, traditional sports business. Right. I think, at least for me, it's been a long time coming in sports. I agree with you. Podcasting might be in the fourth or fifth inning. I've been an avid podcast listener for probably close to ten or twelve years now, I think in the mainstream, podcast probably entered to the consciousness of most people with serial. I think daily sports podcasting probably entered most people's consciousness with someone like Bill Simmons and then later what Barstool has done. But I think really 2019, the sports betting legalization in the US. Which again is still not ruled out in a lot of states. It's a state by state thing, has superpowered a lot of independent sports coverage because there's new money entering. So you take a business that was offshore, illegal, billions and billions of dollars, you bring it onshore, you legalize it, that money needs to get put into the market somewhere. And a lot of the first dollars in came to digital content creators and specifically podcasters. So if you look at the again, I'll use the Barstool sports of the world, the ringer podcast networks of the world, the blue wires of the world, they've seen a huge upswing in their business because of the inflection of cash from sports betting. And they've allowed the consumer habits that were already going towards podcasting to really accelerate tenfold.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:03:39

And then you caught a bit of a break in the pandemic because then a lot of content creators went home and started to not necessarily talk about sports because sports went dormant, but a lot of people did go home and want to talk about their team. And maybe when sports began to get going again, people were at home and buying microphones and jumping on YouTube and creating podcasts. I know my company just exploded with a number of people who wanted to create content, and then you had a little bit more to choose from and a lot more content that became available for a company like Playmaker to look at.

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:04:11

Yeah, I think what happened first was that consumers were already starting to go there, specifically younger. And in the media business, there's always the obsession with finding where the next kind of cohort of listeners are. Where are the younger viewers? Are they on social media for a long time, as we have to be on Twitter and Instagram, we have to be on YouTube, we have to be on TikTok. And I think in the sports business, they found that that younger viewer was certainly not listening to sports radio. They were not tuning into WFAN in New York, they were not tuning into Sports Net 590 in Toronto, or if they were, they were doing so in a much less so capacity. They also weren't turning into full broadcasts of games on TV or streaming for that service. They just weren't spending as much time with sports. But they were still very interested in their teams. They were following their teams on social media. They were looking at highlights on Instagram, and the natural extension to that was this podcast format for sports news. Then, as you mentioned, the pandemic hits, everyone sent home, sports comes to a total halt, but content creation doesn't. In some ways, content creation kind of has this amazing boom where all of a sudden, a lot of the traditional restrictions are taken off a lot of people's plates. You had media companies that radio hosts in the past that would never have thought to have a home studio, all having home studios, traditional broadcast networks that would never have thought to find a way to digitally release their show. Digitally releasing their show. You had people nod in their cars coming to work, which is really important for sports radio, as you know. So I think all of those things really came together with the pandemic, and now it's moving forward. A foregone conclusion that podcasts will be kind of, if not the place, a very important place for sports news and sports talk.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:05:46

So one of the things that made my eyebrows go up, and I think a lot of people really take notice was the purchase of Nation Network and Oilers Nation. I was watching some of the things they were doing. They were releasing episodes on a consistent basis. They had great practices. They had a great following. Why in Edmonton? Why did this happen in Edmonton? And I spent eight years working in Edmonton in a building with sports radio. I kind of have a feel for it. But why Edmonton? I just wouldn't have guessed that that would be the birthplace of a big sports network.

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:06:17

It's a great point, and I think a lot of people are taking off guard that it didn't start in Toronto. I'll take a step back. So we acquired the nation network again about a year and a half ago. The Nation Network today is a big network of websites, social channels, podcasts, video, kind of, you name it, in sports media in Canada and specifically around hockey. The nation network is doing something in that space. But it started in 2007 by a guy named Jay down in Edmonton. And it started I mean, this is the kind of famous origin story as a Ryan Smith specific blog post about Ryan Smith being traded away from the Oilers. I think it was something like Save Ryan Smith CA or something like that, that turned into that kind of traditional Web 1.0 blog in Oilers, which was Oilers Nation. The expansion was very organic. From Oilers nation to flames, nation to conquest. Army to leafs nation. We then brought Daily Face Off in with that network, and all of a sudden, you have this kind of network of originally just really blogs about different teams in their markets. Now. Why Edmonton? Beyond the fact that that's where our founder, Jay is from, that's the team that he loves? I think there's something really deep within the DNA of the nation network of this challenger brand against the traditional broadcast media in Canada that tends to be very Toronto and Montreal focused. The old saying that TSN stands for the Toronto Sports Network is kind of probably a played out meme. But I do think that a lot of people in western Canada and Calgary and Edmonton and Vancouver really feel that way. And as since 2016, or even going further back, there's been less investment in local sports talk, in local sports writers, in pregame shows and postgame shows locally. In each market, a lot of the content has been produced either remotely from Toronto or not produced at all anymore. There's been more and more of an appetite for, well, who are the people in Edmonton or in Calgary covering my team? Because I don't want to hear from a radio host in Toronto talking about the Flames. I want someone who's from Calgary. I want someone who's from Edmonton. So I think that kind of challenger and ecosystem of feeling that they weren't getting the proper due that they deserve from Toronto because all TSN and Sportsnet care about is the big money in Toronto, and they don't care about our team is critical to the DNA.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:08:27

So you're 100% right. Yet all these cities had a radio station up until February 2021 with local people allegedly in the market who were talking about the jets or the Flames or the Oilers, and radio just never got credit for it. I guess that goes back to what you said about people just drifting away from the radio.

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:08:47

Yeah, and I mean, that comes back to an economic issue where I think you could have Howard Stern doing the morning show in Edmonton, and it's not going to draw nearly enough listeners for Numeric to put enough of a rating on it for advertisers to buy it. It just isn't going to happen anymore. Listener habits have changed too much. So I'll use Calgary as an example in that market. The nation network and within our Flames Nation brand has a show called Barb Burner. That is a daily live show. It is put it as a podcast, but it is also live on YouTube. There are clips, put it on social media, and that is really the show that was on the sportsnet station in that market. It is Boomer rhett warner and Ryan Pender doing much of the same things that they were doing for sportsnet, but now doing it within the nation network. Is their audience bigger now digitally than it was before? I think it is because they are incentivized to not just reach an audience on YouTube, but reach it on podcast, also reach them on Twitter, also reach them in live events, and they are able to really control how they interact with their audience. They're not getting up at four in the morning to do their three hour radio slot and then going home. If the show needs to go 2 hours one day, it goes 2 hours. If it's only 45 minutes, it's only 45 minutes. If we need to have and we had some great interviews a few weeks ago, if we have someone in for a long time. Let's let them talk for an hour. And that's really the freedom that podcast and digital media provides. There's also an ability to interact with the audience in a much more authentic way for hosts with podcasts. So, yes, when you're the sportsnet radio or TSN radio host, you see posts on Twitter and you have people call into the show and things like that, but it's very different than you owning the show, being on Twitter, hearing from people, seeing the live chat on YouTube. One of the things that we heard in Calgary is that people wanted more content from that show. They wanted to know what's happening or what people's thoughts were right after the game. Hence the launch of After Burner, which I think we've done five or six episodes now, of immediately after a Flames game. You're going to get, again, could be 20 minutes, could be 40 minutes, it could be 2 hours, depending on how the game goes, of post game conversation that goes out as a podcast and on YouTube.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:10:45

I think that The Big Loser, with sports radio stations folding up, is really directed at the team and the team only. They're the big loser because they're now not getting radio airtime, which was largely free. Sports radio station is not obligated to talk about the Flames all day or the jets all day. They can talk about they can talk about the Rough Riders. They can talk about the Stampeters or the Bombers. So when the sports radio stations went away, I felt that it was really like the Winnipeg Jets. That would really lose out in the end when you're not having that conversation. And by the way, those stations have been replaced with comedy.

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:11:18

Now, I think that that's a good insight. I think that the Big Loser is local market teams, the local radio station. It was a really great agreement for both sides. The team gets a 24 hours promotional channel, essentially talking about the team, breaking down the games, interviews with other people around the league, whatever that is. It's really a promotional tool. They get to broadcast the games. They sell advertising against it. It really was a win win. Not dissimilar to how the sports section of the local paper works, right? The writers get access. They write about the team. People buy papers to read about the team. You read about the team. You want to go tune into the game, you want to go buy tickets to the game. It was this ecosystem that's feeding itself really nicely as the local media disappears in those markets, the teams have a challenge on their hands, which I think they probably have realized really, really acutely in the last few years, is that it's not a foregone conclusion that people in Winnipeg are going to care about the Winnipeg Jets. Sometimes you take for granted that people in Winnipeg are going to care about the jets because it's the team that's local there. There's a lot of brand building work that has to be done to do that. And you have to go out and you have to engage your fans. And the team can directly engage their fan base, they can engage season ticket holders, they can do paid media posts. But it's a lot more efficient when you have this kind of quasi third party relationship with a radio or TV network who is you're not telling them what to say. So there's the perception of objectivity, but they're kind of in bed with you, right? Like they are they are there to make sure that in 100 years the Winnipeg Jets are as relevant as they are today and you're really in bed together to help one another. Does that mean you can't be critical of the team, the coach, the players? Of course you can. But there's that symbiotic relationship. Those local radio stations and newspapers start to disappear. How are you going to reach your fan base now? People like Hustler and Remus in Winnipeg and Winnipeg sports talk guys have done an amazing job essentially taking what they did on the radio, doing it themselves, engaging the local fans. But if there wasn't someone like that doing in the market, the team is going to have a challenge. How do I reach fans in those markets in the absence of local media?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:13:15

One of the things about Edmonton that I wanted to point out and why I think Nation Network did so well is because of 1260 a. M which was not a rights holder which could criticize the team which had personalities like Jason Gregor and Ryan Griffiths and built a brand for many years that was really based on we're not going to carry the games and we're going to speak honestly. And I think that's really another benefit for a lot of content providers online is that they may not necessarily have a relationship where they need to be in the press box to talk about the team.

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:13:47

Yeah, I think that sometimes I think for fans rings really true. With, again, not to call it anyone specifically, but let's say with the Blue Jays and Sportsnet, it's at the Rogers Center, it's the Rogers Sportsnet broadcast, it's on a Rogers TV channel and they own the team. So I think there's times when the Blue Jays are probably deserving of criticism that Blue Jays fans say, well, where do I go to get Blue Jays information that's not from someone working for sportsnet? And as there are less and less writers from the Star, the sun, the Post, global Mail going down to the games and there's less people on, if it's not sportsnet radio in Toronto, it's TSN Radio, how much do they really cover the Jays? I mean, not very much, is the reality. Where do I go to get like an authentic independent analysis of the Jays? Someone who's actually going to be critical of decisions that they make. So you're totally right. I think listeners, viewers, TV watchers are cognizant of when they see a TSN kind of news hit on a TSN broadcast for TSN rights holding activity, as opposed to, as you say, with 1260. No, we're going to tell you how we really feel because we have no obligation to the team. And is the same way. Hey, we we don't have a relationship with the team. Actually, the team is a little adversarial with us, which is good. We have no reason to say something that we don't believe to be true.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:15:01

Shout out to Jamie Campbell, by the way, who I worked with in Edmonton, who is calling Blue Jays games.

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:15:08

Absolutely. And listen, this is one of the challenges of living in a country with only 38 million people and the media gets consolidated. It's not to call it any individual people, right? Like, I think that anyone from a rash modernity to Jamie Campbell, to anyone at Sports down their Blue Jays broadcast, they are going to, within reason, call it as they see it. I think TSN, honestly, if you look at what Rick West Head has done around Hockey Canada, they could have easily, probably deprioritized those stories. They didn't. They did the right kind of, quote unquote, journalistic thing there. So I think that the broadcasters are doing the right thing. But day in, day out, it is hard sometimes for listeners to take seriously someone who is that connected to the ownership of the team or the ownership of the broadcast rights for the team.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:15:48

I know you see the numbers, obviously. You mentioned 38 million people. It kind of feels like Canada is really a bunch of islands. We've got the Connex island and then we've got the Alberta island, which kind of meets in the middle in Red Deer. And Winnipeg is completely its own island altogether in Montreal and Toronto. Those are what they are. But listen, I had a Marley's podcast at one point in my network and it outperformed the jets. So numbers are numbers. How do you look at the 38 million people in Canada and getting them to engage with your content?

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:16:23

Yeah, it's a great question. I think that for playmaker that's within the nation network or other assets as well. What's important to us is local. So what will never work is trying to cover a team or a league or a sport remotely, or from kind of this kind of third party approach. This is true with we own a group of sites and broadcasting in Latin America called football Sites. It operates in every country in Latin America. We would never have one of our writers that covers River Plate in Argentina, not be from Argentina, in Argentina, aware of the local kind of everything that's going on in that market. I think you do yourself a total disservice by doing that. So I think local first matters, but within Canada, it is interesting because in the population density, the reality is that in English Canada, you know, the majority of people are in Ontario, and actually the majority of people are in the Golden Horseshoe in English Canada, right? So there is a hyper focus on things that are happening in the Golden Horseshoe. Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal maybe a little bit past the horseshoe. I think that what I was saying earlier about not feeling as though they're serviced well by the existing legacy. Media is an important piece for what performs well. As we have invested into markets that are seeing a decline in investment from traditional media, we see really good uptake in those markets because the fan base hasn't gone anywhere. Just because the advertising dollars have left radio in that market doesn't mean the fans have left the market. If anything, the fans have grown in that market. But it is an interesting challenge. As you continue to grow, how do you balance the resources? How do you balance the time that you spend on Toronto or Montreal compared with realistically, the biggest thing ever in Winnipeg is still in a market that is significantly smaller than the rest of the NHL markets. How does you balance that? A really, really great outcome in Calgary is still not going to outdraw a mediocre outcome in Toronto or Montreal in just a second.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:18:16

More with Adam including tips about podcast. Discoverability getting the most of your podcast through scheduling. And what do ad agencies think of all this? Also, Adam's going to provide a compelling argument for why your show, even your sports show, needs dynamic audio insertion. And finally, I'll ask the question of life how do we count all this? There's more. There's always more. Including suggestions to some great homemade sports

Sarah Burke (Voiceover) 00:18:47

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Matt Cundill (Host) 00:19:01

Podcast crux of the conversation we were having on Twitter has to do with what you just spoke about and that's do we have more engagement now with our local teams or do we have less? My argument is that maybe we have a little less because the radio has gone away and not everybody has yet gravitated over to the digital side. I think it takes three years to build an audience, whether it's a radio station, whether it's your own brand, wherever it is, and it will catch up and it will replace itself. But the question, how do we count all this? Because you've got numerous with this antiquated diary method. You've got some YouTube, you can get some plays. It only takes 1 second to get a play podcast. You need 1 minute for an IAB certified download. Are you a math major?

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:19:48

I mean, it's a great question. IAB has a conference happening right now and this is something that has been plaguing advertising honestly forever, but has been really at the forefront, I would say, in the last ten years we've heard of in the US. Nielsen being, I would say, ousted as the primary metric for TV and radio in the US. There are upfront is going to happen this year in May in the US. Where Nielsen ratings will not be sold for the first time, for major broadcast networks and for your listeners that don't maybe quite have and understand what that means. Upfront period in the US is in May and Canada, traditionally in June, all the advertisers and their agencies in the world go, and traditionally we'd see a presentation from Fox, from NBC, from CBS. They'd say, here are all the great shows we're going to have this year. Here's all the great content we're going to be having. If you pay now and invest in advertising time, you're going to get a discount than if you were to go out and pay during the scatter market. And the way that we're going to guarantee that your investment is worth something is against a rating provided by Numerics, who's Nielsen in the US. Numerus and Canada third party rating service less and less has that like, live broadcast number being important to advertisers. They're spending more money on digital. So there's been a lot of challenges in terms of how do we measure all this, how do we measure engagement? Used to be very easy. You could just say, well, this many people watch the TV, this many people tune into radio. I know that that's going to give me this number of gross rating points on the market. Boom. My advertising campaign works. Broadcasters can say this show is a success, the show isn't now it gets quite messy. So you're right. YouTube, you have views behind the scenes on YouTube studio, you can see a lot more data in terms of click through rate. You can see time spent, you can see what content are my subscribers also watching before they watch mine? How often is YouTube recommending my content? How many of my views are coming from subscribers versus non subscribers? What percentage of people are subscribing? When do they subscribe? Why do they subscribe? So there's a lot more data available for content creators, but it is messy to take a 10,000 foot view and figure out what is working. Is there more engagement or is there less? All of that is kind of a long preamble to say. I would suggest that people are more engaged with sports today than they were in the past. I think that if you are a fan, and I'm not going to say that there are more fans than today, but I think someone who is a fan, they have so many more ways to engage with their team than they used to that they are more deeply engaged. So if you go back, let's call it 2030 years, I might watch the tick game on TV. I might listen to the sports radio or listen to the radio broadcast of it. I might read the paper. But beyond that, there's not really much else I can do to engage content with the team today. If I'm a fan of, I'll use a Toronto Maple Leaf, which I'm a fan of. Not only can I watch the game, I can watch the morning skate. I can follow a dozen writers on Twitter. I'll talk about line combinations. I can look at fantasy hockey points. I'm probably into multiple different pools where Leaf players are relevant. I can listen to podcasts breaking down all sorts of elements, both of my team and other teams HEADHEAD matchups. And that's before even getting into things like sports betting or on top of all of that, now I can also wager on the game and look at all sorts of different ways to play against that sport. So I would say that people who are fans have the opportunity to become even more loyal, passionate, kind of engaged fans than they ever did before.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:22:59

So you posted on your Twitter the numbers from the weekend. In this case, it was the divisional matchups. It was about roughly the same between the AFC and the NFC. The Sunday night game got a little bit more in terms of viewing in Canada, I think it was 1.7 million was the number that you quoted. So when you see that number and you pull it up on a Monday morning, what are you looking for and what are you thinking about?

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:23:21

So I started putting some of the numbers up on Twitter a few years ago, because it all started when I was before I was working with Playmaker, I was working at advertising agency, and what often would happen is that brands were surprised to learn what people actually watched. The example I would often give people was how low viewership for NBA games was in Canada, and how high viewership was for CFL games. People had the perception a lot of the media and advertising people were based in Toronto, or were actually based in New York or the US. They had the perception that the NBA must be extremely popular. The Raptors are popular, drake's popular. The NBA is cool. It's popular on social, on TV. People must watch a lot of NBA. The reality is, in Canada, the Raptors do just fine with the GTA, and when they're on their playoff run, they did very well. But the reality is, on a day in, day out, nobody in Canada really watches the Lakers play the Clippers on a Tuesday night on TSN. So I realized that that was like a real blind spot. A lot of advertisers had started putting out those numbers on Twitter. Now, what I'm looking for is a good question. There's not really necessarily anything I'm looking for. I think sometimes it's just interesting to put the numbers out there without comment. And allow people to start to form a bit of a picture in their mind of what they care about versus what the masses care about. And Numeris, which provides the TV ratings, it's an imperfect science, as every rating system is, but it gives you a snapshot of what everybody is watching. It gives you an idea of what is the kind of most mass popular thing out there. And the reality is that hockey day in Canada is generally the biggest show of the week. Prime time hockey net in Canada 07:00 p.m. Is generally the biggest show of the week on TV in Canada. And then the NFL Super Bowl is always the biggest rating every year. And NFL playoffs are usually very high too. And that's been the same in this country for a long time, for probably ten years now. The CFL has seen decline in viewership over that ten years. I know CFL people will be upset with me to hear that, but it's the reality. The NFL has really picked up steam over those last ten years. The NHL has, in my opinion, kind of stagnated. It's certainly not growing. It's hard to grow when you're number one. How much can you really grow? But it's not really shrinking that much. I think there's some hand wringing that happens in the media. Kids aren't as interested in hockey. Hockey and Canada doesn't hold the same place that it used to. It's kind of stayed relatively the same over that time period. So what I'm really looking at is, or thinking about and trying to have a conversation on Twitter about is think about your own viewing habits, think about what you care about, and then compare it to the rest of Canada. And there's a chance that you are based in Toronto or you're based in Vancouver, you're based in Montreal, and you have a little bit of either urban bias, you have a little bit of bias towards your team, him, you have bias towards your sport. And the reality of what Canada as a whole is watching is quite different.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:25:55

And thank you, by the way, for posting that. And you should follow Adam on Twitter because he's a great follower. Just simply if you just want to have those numbers. I mean, one of the great questions, the easiest trivia question I serve up all the time in the bar is what is the number one TV show in America? And the answer is, it's always a.

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:26:13

Super bowl, and it's always the NFL.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:26:15

Yes. Sunday Night Football.

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:26:17

Actually, what's even funnier is that, looking at last year, I think there's lots of good ratings information in the US. And there's lots of kind of a cottage industry of this. Last year, the top 100 games, I think it was something like 88 of them were NFL games, a couple of them were college football. You had an inauguration or state of the union address usually in there, but of the NFL ones of the 100 biggest broadcast of the year last year in the US. Twelve of them were Cowboys games. So in reality, the most popular TV show in the US is the Dallas.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:26:44

Cowboys, followed by the Packers, Steelers and.

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:26:47

Whoever'S playing in the 04:00 P.m. Window on Fox usually.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:26:51

Absolutely. You gave away a great tip earlier on how to if you're doing a sports podcast and that's record the show right after the game is over and have it ready to go the next morning. Do you have any other tips you want to serve up?

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:27:06

It's a really interesting question. I think sports podcasting is now kind of catching its stride as a real established medium for sports content. So I use Bill Simmons as an example. He's been doing his podcast for a really long time. Originally was doing this with ESPN and Spawn off in the ringer. The Ringer was acquired by Spotify and his podcasts and kind of within his network have changed a lot. But a lot of what he did is a really good playbook. So one exactly what you just mentioned, when there's a big game, bill Simmons or Ryan Rosillo or whoever's within his network covering the NBA or cover the NFL playoffs, they will record almost immediately after the game. Barstool sports part of my take, largest sports podcast in the world. They will record Sunday afternoon, Sunday nights so that it is in your inbox, it is in your podcast feed first thing Monday morning. That is because it is really a race to first when it comes to content. People do not want to wait until 04:00 P.m. For the drivetime radio host to tell them their opinion. By then, they've already heard every opinion out there. They've already read every stat. No one is going to wait for 04:00 P.m.. So getting your show out in a timely fashion I think is really important. I think a lot of people get really concerned about format and structure. I think that that is a total red herring. Do not get distracted by that. Your podcast does not need to be the same every single time. Format and structure are really helpful for hosts, I think, but I don't think they're necessarily as helpful for listeners as you think. If sometimes the podcast needs to be an hour and a half long and other times it needs to be 45 minutes long, your listeners will totally understand. They are not used to the show being half an hour. That's not a sitcom. They're not sitting down expecting three ad breaks and A story, a B story and then a C story. That's not what they expect, but they expect it's for you to cover the team in a way that makes the most sense. Those are two tips that I really strive to tell people. And the last thing is that you got to make it easy for people to find your show and learn about your show and taste your show. So podcast, notoriously, is really, really difficult for Discoverability. There really isn't a great Discoverability tool for podcasting. So what you need to do is you need to find the best moments, your podcast, 15 seconds, 30 seconds, a minute, five minute interviews. Those need to be clipped and those need to be put on other social media channels that have the ability to go viral. TikTok, Twitter, more and more now, actually. The way the algorithms being set up with Elon, and now there's a for you page more and more on Twitter TikTok and Instagram reels and YouTube shorts as well. Take the best moments of your podcast and put it out on those channels. Chances are someone's going to find that clip and eventually say, I'd like to hear the rest of that interview. I'd like to hear where that host was going with that. The other thing is that a lot of people assume that their listener is a little unintelligent. You don't need to give them all the setup and preamble for those clips. Just dive right into halfway through an answer of a question. People will figure it out, and if they can't quite figure it out, they're going to go find the full clip elsewhere.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:29:51

That's a great point about the algorithm and Twitter having changed because I have been bombed with nothing but Buffalo Bills bitching and complaining the minute I turn on my Twitter. Just the way I interact on Twitter.

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:30:03

Right. You must have been following me then, after the loss. Yeah.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:30:07

Are you a Bills fan?

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:30:08

I am a Bills fan. That was a disappointing weekend because that's.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:30:12

The same support group, Bills and Leafs.

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:30:14

Unfortunately, in a lot of ways, we share similarities of just gut punching defeats.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:30:19

Yeah. And thank you, by the way, for talking about the Discoverability side of things. You need a website. You absolutely need a website.

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:30:27

Yeah. And another thing on Discoverability, what's been really successful for me in terms of discovering new podcasts is often this kind of collaboration culture that exists on YouTube with people, where you have a podcast in a space that could be competitive to me or the same as me. You come on my show, I'll go on your show, and it gives us a chance to cross pollinate each other's audiences. YouTube, again, a lot of YouTube creators are really, really good about this, of kind of sharing their audience. They don't get too precious about, although I'm doing a leaf show, so I don't want you to do I don't want to go on your leaf show because people won't want to come to my leaf show. The reality is that we're still in the growth phase for a lot of people's habits changing. It doesn't cost you anything to subscribe to another show or to add another show onto your kind of Twitter following or anything like that. So don't be afraid to cross pollinate with people who are in your space or even not in your space, it might bring a totally different audience. Yeah.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:31:17

So two things I'll just add to that is that you have the ability to cross promo. So just swap promos between the shows is something you could do. And then the other thing is, we talked about algorithms. Whether you like it or not, the minute your show finishes on Apple or Spotify, apple or Spotify will recommend that show that you share audience with to the listener because they want to keep that listener on the platform. So it's not radio where the station down the street is your enemy. Your perceived competition is your ally.

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:31:46

I mean, the reality is that online your competition is attention. It's everything. No one will ever hear your show if they never first click on it. So it's all working backwards to getting that first click online and that first click on YouTube. YouTube will give you really good insights on what they like. They will tell you, we are prioritizing YouTube shorts right now. So if you're not producing YouTube shorts, you should be producing YouTube shorts. If you go into the YouTube studio, they will tell you, we recommended your video to X amount of people. The click through rate was this we want people to spend time on YouTube. So the higher the click through rate is, the more we're going to recommend your videos, the more people are going to spend time on YouTube. If people aren't clicking your videos, you got to figure out why the headline bad? Is the thumbnail bad? Why are people not clicking your video? They have no chance to hear or see your content if they've never click on it. Podcast the same way. Is it uploaded on a consistent basis? If you say it's going to be at 02:00 p.m. Eastern, is it up there at 02:00 p.m. Eastern? Is it on every channel? Does it look good on every channel? If I want to Spotify and Apple, which really are the two biggest ways that people tune in, I wouldn't worry about too much else but Spotify and Apple, if it's there, does it look good? Is the thumbnail clear? Is the description clear? Can you give me an easy way to get into the episode and know what I'm dealing with? You got to really play into what the apps want because at the end of the day, they want people to spend time with their app and they don't really care about the content beyond that. They care about the content the same way a computer cares about it doesn't get the click.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:33:05

So back 2018 2019. Now, I think I was talking with Julie Adam from Rogers at the time and she mentioned that keeping the sports network separate from the frequency network and I thought that was a great idea because you really didn't need dai for your sports podcast. But as time went on, it turns out maybe we do need some dai dynamic ad insertion for our sports podcast, because people do go in and listen to older episodes.

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:33:31

People absolutely do. I mean, we have actually seen within the nation network in the summer where a lot of our town are off. The NHL is not being played. We'll put back old episodes or old interviews that are totally outdated. Right. We'll have an interview with a player or a coach that maybe 60% of the interviews talking about things that are not time sensitive, but 40% is talking about the current AHL. Those episodes will still do quite well from a download perspective. So people definitely with sports media and sports news will go back for certain types of content. In terms of dynamic ad insertion, I'm very in favor of dynamic ad insertion for every podcast. The reality is that if you're a content creator, you produce a podcast, you're putting that product out for free. Anybody who downloads it is paying you absolutely nothing. So if you have a way to make some money and monetize it and improve the content, I think you should. I think on Radio there's an exception that well, there's two and a half minutes of ads, whatever it is. But that was radio. Podcast doesn't need that. I think there's a happy medium between the two. On Radio and Canada, the regulation is twelve minutes of ads per hour. So think about that. Twelve minutes of ads per hour. That's probably 24 32nd spots in a given hour of content. On Radio, you're never going to see a podcast. It's an hour long with 24 32nd ads. That would be a lot. But what about 1030 2nd ads? What about seven? What about five? I think a lot of people think I could have one ad read at the top, one in the middle, and maybe one post roll. I think there's a chance that you can increase that ad load without insulting or disrespecting your audience.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:34:56

Interestingly, too, if you get involved with, let's say, Spotify or Amazon, who are in the business of reselling your ad space in a place like Finland, or in the case of the Winnipeg Jets, I believe it's Denmark. It's Nikolay EhlersFrom Denmark. Well, a jets podcast is going to get downloads from Denmark. De facto. Amazon or Spotify will put ads, Danish ads, into the podcast. Therefore you get paid twice. So maybe there are many more minutes than you think.

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:35:25

Yeah, I mean, Matt with Oilers Nation, I will say that the number two fan base that's out of people at Edmonton are people from Germany. Very surprising. But Leon Drysidel has got a massive following, and all those people have become Edmonton Oilers fans. Have become Oilers nation fans. They listen to our podcast. There's even a German version of out there. We've had people from Germany fly to Edmonton to go to games with some of our Oilers Nation staff. So I totally agree with you. I think that one of the real benefits of digital media, compared to traditional radio or traditional broadcast, is that it is global. I mean, I've downloaded local radio from markets in the US for certain sports or markets in the UK that in the past I never would have gotten. And with dynamic ad insertion, I'm still going to get an ad for RBC or Tim Hortons in front of it.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:36:08

So I think you and I would both agree that the digital space in sports is going to grow. We're going to have a lot more homegrown content creators. But from the business side, what do you see? What do you think? What do you know?

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:36:20

Look, I think the business of sport is still very much growing. So if you look at valuations of Big Four professional sports teams, or look at EPL teams, or look at Formula One, I mean, the last ten years have really been a rocket ship for a lot of these teams. Forbes put out kind of full coverage of the biggest sports media empires. I think yesterday or today, the highlight of that list being Liberty Media, who owned Formula One and also own, I believe, the Atlanta Braves. I want to say they purchased Formula One for $8 billion in 2016. It's known now valued at about $17 billion. Drive to survive has helped grow it in the US. They've helped put on more stops in North America to grow that league. But also, if you look at just MLB teams, a league that a lot of people said was getting really old and dying, their values have gone through the roof. NBA teams have gone up like crazy in value. NHL teams are still growing in value today. Even a team like the Sanders, which is a smaller Canadian market team, it is worth close to a billion dollars today. So I think sports team valuations are high. The reason they're high is because sports media rates have gone through the roof. It's pretty much the only thing that people will watch live advertising premium for Live. I think that sports is still going to continue to grow in terms of an industry and dollars spent against it. I do think that the globalization of sports is still happening where local sports are maybe going to be a little bit more challenged than they have been in the past when we look at kind of BCD level teams. So because there's so much great sports content available digitally, because streaming services have allowed you to bring I can watch every single soccer league that I want to in Toronto, and I didn't used to be able to do that. Right between Paramount Plus and Fubo and Duzone and TSN and sportsnet, any soccer game that happens in the world, I can stream and watch at home. So maybe that's going to hurt someone like Toronto FC or MLS. I can watch any single baseball game I want at any given time. So if I'm a baseball fan, I might not necessarily be a Toronto Blue Jays fan from Toronto. I could easily become a fan of, you know, maybe I'm a fan of the Phillies after their run last year and I become a Phillies fan. I can pretty much watch every Phillies game streaming online here in Toronto. So I think there's a challenge of localization where you still need to engage your local fan base, but sports as a whole is going to be continuing to grow in my eyes.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:38:34

Do we still have an education piece with the advertising agencies?

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:38:39

Absolutely. And I sometimes am critical of them from an education standpoint. I've worked with them in the past. I've been at an ad agency. The reality is it's not just education. I mean, when you sit down and you do presentations at ad agencies and you speak with leadership, there strategy people, media buyers, they understand, right? These are not unintelligent people. But the incentives for an ad agency specifically for media buyers has never really aligned with innovation. It's really aligned well with especially what's happened again over the last 1015 years of all these agencies essentially being acquired by one another into these giant roll ups is that the name of the game is being control the market as much as you can, right? So buy as much upfront inventory as you can with the biggest broadcast partners so that you control the market so that advertisers have to work with you as their agency to get the best pricing. And then the commission rates just kept getting driven down, down, down. I think we're at an inflection point now where agencies are starting to take on projects on a performance basis, on a revenue split basis, opposed to a commission basis, are being incentivized or challenged by their clients to do things on their own or do things more innovatively, or we're going to do it on our own. You'll see big brands now having five, six, seven agency partners to use for different types of projects. So I think the incentives for agencies need to change a little bit still. But they are educated. They know that the media world is changing, mean, they just need to be incentivized, that it's a better deal for me to because as it stands right now, it's easier for them to take last year's plan. This is the old adage that you take last year's media plan, you add 5%, you put new dates on, and you send it to the client. No one loses their job for doing that, right? You never lose your job for buying a TV spot in hockey netting Canada. But the reality is that that probably isn't a very innovative way to be spending your media dollars in Canada. And there's probably a lot of other things you could be doing to activate be your brand.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:40:26

Adam, thanks so much for being on the podcast and, man, this is exciting times, exciting things happening and so many creators getting in the space and it's just awesome to see all this happening.

Adam Seaborn (Guest) 00:40:35

Yeah, Matt, any time. It was really fun.

Tara Sands (Voiceover) 00:40:37

The the Sound Off podcast written and hosted by Matt Cundill. Produced by Evan Surminski social Media by Courtney Krebsbach. Another great creation from the the Soundoff media company. There's always


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