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Love sports? If so then you probably already have the ScoreMobile app installed on your BlackBerry. Now, do you love golf? If you do, then you may want to know that Score Media has managed to get television and digital rights to provide you live coverage of the Emirates Australian Open, which begins on November 9th. Greg Sansone, Vice President, Broadcast Operations, Score Media Inc. says:

The Emirates Australian Open is one of the world’s oldest national golf opens and this year’s tournament, featuring some of golf’s most notable names, will be a highlight for golf fans.

The schedule for the exclusive live broadcasts are:
• Wednesday November 9th from 8pm – 1am
• Thursday November 10th from 8pm – 1am
• Friday November 11th from 10pm – 1am
• Saturday November 12th from 9pm – 1am

The final round will also be replayed on Sunday November 13th from 8am – 1pm. You can watch the live coverage via ScoreMobile beginning November 9th but also on theScore Television Network, theScore.com. So, if you want to watch your favourite top golfers in action get the app now and keep the date in your diary.

Specialty channel and digital media provider ScoreMedia continues to connect with its audiences across social media networks and online blogs.

At the recent Blogs with Balls (BWB4) event in New York City, theScore won the ‘Best Podcast Award’ for its popular blog and podcast, The Basketball Jones (TBJ).

Now, former hockey player turned writer and online commentator, Justin Bourne, has officially joined theScore and he’ll launch a new hockey blog, called Backhand Shelf.

The blog, which launches October 3rd, will also include contributions from Ryan Lambert (Puck Daddy), Cam Charron (SBnation) and original video from Down Goes Brown/Bloge Salming.

The Basketball Jones is already known as a leading source for entertaining commentary, unconventional interviews and hilarious viral videos, TBJ was recognized for their undeniable talent. And, up against stiff competition – including The BS Report, The Dan Patrick Show, House of Punte, The Rich Eisen Podcast and The Solid Verbal – they still managed to take home the top prize (while being nominated for several others).

“theScore is ecstatic to add this great writer to its blogging roster,” said Joe Ross, theScore’s Director of Content of the new sports blog which hopes to achieve some of the same success. “He’ll bring the same unique style and insight that made him a standout at Yahoo.”

Justin Bourne is the son of hockey great Bob Bourne – who won four Stanley Cups with the Islanders in the 80’s. He’s also a frequent contributor to Yahoo!’s Puck Daddy Blog, USA Today and The Hockey News, and so is one of a select few high-level athletes who has made a successful transition to sports writing.
“I’m just truly pumped to take this opportunity and run with it,” he said. “The team at theScore has given me the chance to create the very site I’ve been scheming in my head for a while now. It should have a pretty unique flavour.”

Score Media’s primary asset, theScore Television Network (“theScore”), is a national specialty television service providing sports news, information, highlights and live event programming in more than 6.8 million homes across Canada. The Company’s digital media assets include theScore.com and the industry leading mobile sports applications ScoreMobile, ScoreMobile FC and SportsTap which reach over three million unique users per month.

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7/26/2011 6:58:00 AM By: Christine Wong

It may seem surprising that Score Media Inc. is hiring a whole bunch of techie types these days. And they’re not there to keep the computers from crashing at the company’s specialty sports TV channel, The Score.

The company is bringing more software developers on board as part of its sweeping foray into the mobile app market. Though Score Media Inc. may never win the sports TV viewership game against bigger rivals TSN and Sportsnet, it’s winning new fans — and revenue streams — by transforming itself into one of the top sports app content providers in the world.

Toronto-based Score Media launched The Score as a sports specialty channel with 60 employees back in 1997, a full 13 years after TSN hit the airwaves as Canada’s first national English language sports channel. Today, Score Media has 270 staff (and growing, thanks to those recent software hires) and a newly competitive lease on life, due in large part to the growth of its mobile sports app business.

“We’re coming from a background as a TV broadcaster. So it’s one thing to start hiring Web developers, but we actually now have a software practice here that’s quite significant. And I think that’s really quite notable for a broadcaster to be undertaking software development,” says Dale Fallon, vice-president of digital products at Score Media.

The company launched its first app, ScoreMobile, in 2007. There’s also ScoreMobile FC for soccer diehards (in English and Spanish versions to boot), and SportsTap, a rival U.S. app acquired by Score Media in May. (The ScoreMobile and FC apps are available for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry; the SportsTap app is only on iPhone and Android at present.)

According to industry tracker comScore Inc. (similarly named but unrelated to Score Media), ScoreMobile and SportsTap combined are the third-most popular mobile sports apps, behind those of ESPN and Yahoo!, but ahead of sports apps put out by American broadcasting behemoths Fox and CBS.

Although The Score TV channel had a late start against TSN and Sportsnet, its focus on headlines, highlights and scores is an obvious fit for the “quick fix” bursts of content favoured by mobile app users.

“I think it’s a natural progression. The Score has built its TV business on short form content whereas TSN and Sportsnet do more live events. That kind of short form content plays really well on mobile apps,” says Massimo Voci, a technology analyst who follows Score Media for MGI Securities Inc. in Toronto.

“It’s a good opportunity for the company to expand their business beyond Canada and beyond TV,” Voci adds.

And although TV broadcasting is heavily regulated by governments via the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission and the Federal Communications Commission in the U.S., the mobile app market is completely unrestricted, opening up new sales opportunities for Score Media around the globe.

“The mobile (apps market) specifically, it’s not regulated. And (Score Media) was one of the very early entrants into mobile with their app, which they really put a lot of time and development into,” says Scott Rattee, who tracks Score Media as a special situations equity analyst at Stonecap Securities Inc. in Toronto.

The apps are free for users, so the company makes money through ads running on them alongside content. Score Media doesn’t break down how much revenue comes from mobile apps specifically, but the firm recently posted a third quarter profit of $700,000, up from $600,000 in Q3 a year earlier. Revenue jumped 10 per cent year over year in Q3 to $13.2 million. Based on his own conversations with Score Media executives, Rattee estimates that ad revenue from mobile apps alone probably grew by a substantial 42 per cent in Q3 from the same period 12 months earlier.

Competition is heating up in the sports app arena, with all the major professional sports leagues in the U.S. launching their own mobile apps in the past 18 months, including the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB. And Yahoo! acquired app firm Citizen Sports last year as well.

Score Media is keeping up by recently buying a 20 per cent stake in Nulayer Inc., a Toronto firms that specializes in software development for mobile apps. Score Media also just hired Lars Laakes away from peripherals maker Logitech International to be the new director of software engineering for its digital products teams. And its acquisition of U.S.-based SportsTap gives the company a launching pad for ad sales in the American sports app market.

“We made the decision earlier this year that we could take the step of opening a sales office in New York, which could lead to other sales offices in the U.S.,” Fallon says.

The SportsTap purchase will definitely bump up American use of Score Media’s mobile apps, which now stands at 65 per cent of all of its mobile app use worldwide, says Voci.

The newer emphasis on digital mobile products doesn’t mean Score Media is ignoring its other media business streams, including the Score.com Web site, its satellite radio service on SiriusXM, or the cornerstone TV channel available in 6.8 million Canadian homes. But it’s the current sweet spot in a multimedia market that is constantly changing.

“We need the TV station to continue to be successful and operate profitably,” Fallon says. “But for our company there are significant opportunities for growth outside of Canada, and it happens to be the digital platform where we see that happening.”

Christine Wong is a Staff Writer at ITBusiness.ca.

Canadian sports broadcaster Score Media is counting on Latinos fanaticism over fútbol to deliver traffic and eyeballs to its newly-launched soccer app en español – ScoreMobileFC.

The app delivers live scores, stats and standings; real-time push alerts; breaking news, top stories and game odds; and also features interactive live blogs for key games.

Score Media executives have known for some time that to reach a broader audience of soccer fans content in a language other than English was a must. Launching in Spanish offered the most “exciting mix” and ample room for growth.

“The Hispanic market seemed the obvious choice given its size and the soccer-mad nature of the sports fans,” says Mark Montgomery, senior manager, mobile at Score Media. “The U.S. Hispanic market is growing at a phenomenal pace, they’re young and they’re mobile savvy and demand high quality content in their native language.”

ScoreMobileFC offers coverage of over 60 fútbol leagues – including Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Spain – and international competitions including Copa América, Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana. Its launch comes just as Copa América action heats up in Argentina.

All of the data, statistics and game schedules appearing on ScoreMobileFC are identical to its English-language sibling ScoreMobile. The Spanish-language feature boasts content and game recaps that are created specifically for Hispanic audiences.

“You’re not going to have a translated version from one to the other,” says Montgomery. “The Spanish-language app focuses more on what’s going on in Latin America and a more defined focus on the Latino audience.”

He points out that ScoreMobile FC just finished intense coverage of the CONCACAF Copa Oro and its U.S. vs. Mexico final. For Copa América, Score Media has teamed up with several news sources to deliver in-depth coverage of the matches.

ScoreMobileFC is currently available for BlackBerry devices; versions for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone will be unveiled in the near future. Banner advertising that appears within the ad is also customized for the U.S. Hispanic market.

Montgomery admits that executives at Score Media are looking at the possibility of launching new Spanish-language versions… but they’re taking it slowly.

“This is our first foray into Spanish-language coverage and we’re two weeks into it,” says Montgomery, citing a significant number of downloads in Argentina, Mexico, the U.S. and Venezuela. “The early results are extraordinarily positive; if they continue this way, we’re definitely on the right track.”

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By SHAYNDI RAICE And YUKARI IWATANI KANE

Original article: http://on.wsj.com/lTa8PI

There’s an app for M&A, too.

The past several months have seen a sharp upswing in mergers and acquisitions among makers of smartphone games, tools and other software as buyers seek scale, talent and access to mobile-phone users.
[APPMNA]

The trend is starting to change the app ecosystem. With more than 500,000 mobile apps now available through Apple Inc.’s App Store or Google Inc.’s Android Market, it has become increasingly difficult for small companies with limited resources to make a splash.

At the same time, large technology companies are seeking a bigger role in mobile as users spend more time on their smartphones.

“The incumbents all know that mobile is the big 10-year bet and they better acquire assets and talent in that space now to be able to fight the fight,” says Matt Murphy, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers who runs the venture firm’s iFund for mobile apps. “Only a small minority will be big, winning standalone companies.”

In 2010, there were 66 acquisitions involving mobile-app companies, up from 46 a year earlier, according to research firm Rutberg & Co., a boutique investment bank focused on mobile and digital media. In 2011, the pace is picking up, with 38 deals in the first four months, up from 21 a year earlier. Most of the deals were for less than $100 million, but a few were valued between $100 million and $500 million.

“It’s literally 1999 all over again,” says Rajeev Chand, Rutberg’s head of research, who anticipates that over the next two years the number of deals valued above $100 million will grow materially. “The big question is will we see billion-dollar companies out of this,” he says, adding, “We believe that we will.”

Much of the activity is taking place in games, the biggest category among apps and one of the most competitive. By the count of videogame developer Electronic Arts Inc., the number of publishers in Apple’s iTunes App Store has increased to 16,700 this year from about 11,000 last year. The total number of games is up 49% to 51,518 from 34,516.

EA is combing through the market for opportunities to add games to its portfolio. Earlier this month, it acquired Australian game developer Firemint, best known for its Flight Control game. It also recently bought Mobile Post Production, which helps developers make mobile games across multiple platforms.

The moves followed its acquisition of Chillingo, the publisher of Rovio’s “Angry Birds,” for about $20 million last October and the social-games company PlayFish in 2009 for $275 million.

“As this market continues to get more and more crowded, the folks that are able to create scale are going to have advantages,” said Barry Cottle, executive vice president of EA Interactive.

In addition to EA last month, Japanese mobile social-gaming company Gree Inc. acquired OpenFeint, which runs a social-gaming network for Apple mobile devices and Android phones, for $104 million. And last October, in one of the biggest games-market deals, Japan’s Ngmoco bought DeNa for $400 million.

Zynga Inc. has been one of the most active buyers, acquiring six mobile-gaming companies since January 2010. David Ko, Zynga’s senior vice president of mobile, said in an email that offering games for smartphones and tablets is a key priority for the company, which has become successful through the games it offers through Facebook.

“The current mobile ecosystem is extremely fragmented, with many developers building apps across various platforms,” Mr. Ko says. “As the market evolves and the dust settles, we should begin to see increased consolidation.”

Google has also been actively buying small app companies, completing eight acquisitions since January 2010 and making it the leader in app M&A, according to Rutberg.

Meanwhile, smaller developers are merging with competitors or integrating vertically to bring new capabilities in-house. New York-based start-up GroupMe, which lets users create private text-messaging groups, acquired small BlackBerry app developer Sensobi earlier this month.

Meanwhile, Boulder, Colo., tech company Occipital LLC, which sold its popular bar-code-reader shopping app RedLaser to eBay Inc. in June, is in final talks to buy photography iPhone app maker Snapture Labs LLC. In addition to giving the six-person company access to more customers, the deal will bring Occipital economies of scale, says co-founder Jeff Powers.

“The bar has gotten really high,” says Mr. Powers. Developing quality apps takes more effort, and the costs have more than doubled since the days when a good app could be created for tens of thousands of dollars, he adds.

Wayne Elliot, co-founder of the sports app SportsTap, says one of the primary reasons his company was open to being acquired by Score Media last week was that it was losing 50% of its revenue to a third-party ad network. Score Media has its own in-house marketing team.

“From operations to sales teams to marketing opportunities, as a small skeletal group we were not getting out in front,” Mr. Eliott says.

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By Jason Ankeny

Original article: http://bit.ly/jmI06j

Interactive sports programming provider Score Media acquired free smartphone application SportsTap, a move that increases its global monthly unique mobile userbase to over 3 million. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The ad-supported SportsTap app touts detailed box scores, in-depth team and player statistics and related news and information spanning the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, Nascar and all other major sporting leagues. SportsTap is currently the third most popular free sports app in Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android Market, behind Score Media’s own ScoreMobile–Score adds that the combined monthly audience of the two apps would trail only ESPN and Yahoo, and ahead of competitors Fox and CBS.

Score Media said it will continue offering SportsTap as a standalone application. In addition to ScoreMobile and SportsTap, the company’s portfolio of smartphone apps also includes ScoreMobile FC and theScore iPad Edition.

For more:
– read this release

financial-post

By Matt Hartley

Original article: http://bit.ly/iIlTI4

Score Media Inc. is taking another step towards becoming a household name for American sports fans.

On Thursday, the Toronto-based media company behind the popular ScoreMobile smartphone application announced it had acquired rival SportsTap, in a deal designed to bolster the company’s position as a leader in sports-focused mobile apps South of the border.

With the addition of SportsTap, Score Media now boasts one of the largest mobile sports networks in North America, with more than 3 million unique monthly users. Both applications offer users access to real time sports statistics and scores from major professional sports leagues.

According to market tracking firm comScore Inc.’s MobiLens March 2011 report, the combined monthly audience of ScoreMobile and SportsTap would rank as the No. 3 sports app audience in the United States, trailing only ESPN and Yahoo Inc.’s properties.

For Score Media, the addition of the SportsTap audience expands the company’s mobile reach at a time when the Toronto-based firm is preparing to ramp up international ad sales. The company already boasts a Canadian-based advertising sales team, and is looking to increase its international ad sales footprint as its user base grows around the world.

In a recent interview with the Financial Post, Score Media chief financial officer Tom Hearne said the company is looking to expand its sales team internationally and expects to begin seeing the financial impact from that expansion beginning in the September quarter.

“ScoreMobile’s acquisition of SportsTap brings together two innovative and popular services and positions us well to deliver even more exciting experiences for sports fans and creative solutions for our advertising partners,”said Benjie Levy, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Score Media.

“This deal further cements our position as a mobile sports leader among the world’s premier sports brands.”

While many Canadians were introduced to Score Media through its television network, The Score, over the past several years, the company has quickly evolved into a leading publisher of sports applications for smartphones and tablets and is garnering an international reputation for its digital products.

Although its television network is rarely seen outside of Canada, 70% of the company’s digital audiences come from international markets.

Score Media’s portfolio of applications — which includes the Score Mobile and soccer-focused Score Mobile FC apps for various platforms as well as the Score Mobile for iPad tablet app — registered 2.4 million unique users in January.

Launched in 2007, SportsTap offers applications for both Apple Inc.’s iOS platform and Google Inc.’s Android software. With SportsTap, Score Media will now have the No. 2 (ScoreMobile) and No. 3 sports-focused applications in the Android marketplace.

According to a statement, Score Media plans to continue to operate SportsTap as a standalone property. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

However, it was unclear if Score Media had purchased only the application SportsTap, or if the company had acquired Mobile1Sports LLC, the company which developed the application.

Officials from Score Media were not immediately available for comment Thursday morning.

TechCrunch

By Robin Wauters

Original article: http://tcrn.ch/iOFwxm

Score Media has acquired sports-focused mobile apps maker SportsTap, whose Android and iPhone apps compete with Score Media’s multi-sport app ScoreMobile.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but SportsTap will be maintained as a stand-alone smartphone and mobile browser app.

Launched in 2007, SportsTap is currently the third most popular free sports app on Android (right behind the 2nd most popular app, ScoreMobile). Both apps offer users access to real-time sports results and statistics from major professional sports leagues.

This acquisition makes a lot of sense for all the right reasons.

According to comScore’s MobiLens March 2011 report, which ranks mobile sports app audiences in the United States, the combined monthly audience of ScoreMobile and SportsTap would rank as #3 behind ESPN and Yahoo and ahead of competitors FOX and CBS.

The strategic acquisition of SportsTap will increase its global monthly unique user base to more than 3 million.

Score Media is a media company delivering interactive sports entertainment. Created in 1997, the company operates the theScore television network in Canada as well as a number of digital media assets, including theScore.com, a theScore iPad app and mobile sports apps ScoreMobile and ScoreMobile FC which are available for BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone 7.

SportsBusinessDaily

By Eric Fisher

Original article: http://bit.ly/k4xiJ7

Toronto-based Score Media Inc. has acquired rival mobile outfit SportsTap, one of the most popular smartphone sports applications, from Mobile1Sports LLC. The combined Score Media-SportsTap entity will rank among the largest sports mobile audiences in the U.S. with a combined unique user base of more than 3 million. Score Media will run its own ScoreMobile and SportsTap as separate products and separate brands. Financial terms were not disclosed. Mobile1Sports founders Wayne Elliot and Logan Rockmore will remain on and work for Score Media.

Score Media Exec VP & COO Benjie Levy said, “Both companies were early to the mobile space and have been keeping an eye on each other for some time. It became apparent that coming together was going to make a lot of sense, and really accelerate our growth.”

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By Raju Mudhar

Original article: http://bit.ly/eG2TVI

Is the Score like the Toronto Blue Jays? Or can it be Nintendo?

We’ve all seen how the Jays compare (or often don’t) to the Yankees and Red Sox, whereas Nintendo has found great success and new audiences by going down different technology paths than rivals Microsoft and Sony.

Like those two examples, the Score is dwarfed by two larger, free-spending rivals, but the company’s leadership says they’re really not competing in the same world as TSN and Rogers Sportsnet. Alternating between describing Canada’s sports media battle as an “arms race” or bemusedly making fun of their competitors as being in a hurried grocery store game show, running down the aisles scooping up talent and live event programming rights in sight, the Score says it doesn’t matter to them because they’re effectively playing a different game.

“It’s interesting. There’s a big battle happening in Canada that we’re up against, and they’re taking properties, and people are looking at us with sad eyes asking ‘Are you okay? What happened with March Madness? You lost it,’” says John Levy, CEO of The Score. “No one needs to feel bad for us. Our approach has always been totally different and the bottom line is that we’re moving in a different direction.”

The Score hasn’t come out unscathed due to the increased competition. March Madness was their biggest live programming event over the past four years, and the network did an excellent job with it. It’s now on TSN. Levy admits they’re not fit to go after live events like their competitors. As well, personalities have moved on, like Cabral “Cabbie” Richards (now on CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show) and Steve Kouleas, who now hosts a hockey show on TSN2.

Levy admits March Madness was a property that fit the station like a glove, but its loss does nothing to stop the company’s momentum into new digital spaces, which so far are reaping great dividends. In the tech world, being first is a great boon, and the Score has been working in the mobile world since 2005.

The Score’s strategy is a fan-centric (and somewhat frat-boy flavoured), sports infotainment model that is designed to move easily between broadcast and digital platforms. Instead of going for former players as talking heads or using TV personalities to write for their website, it’s the other way around. They’re moving blog stars up the chain, like tapping Yahoo’s Puck Daddy, Greg Wyshynski, for their Sirius radio station, or giving successful local web entities like J.E. Skeets and Tas Melas, a.k.a. The Basketball Jones, their shot on TV. The plus side is that guys like TBJ remain social media machines creating podcasts and funny videos that go viral, so beyond ratings, management looks to being picked up on Deadspin.com and other influential sites as success.

But are those web personalities enough to keep people coming? Their coverage, both onscreen and off, often feels like a nice add-on as opposed to a necessity. It’s clear and commendable that they don’t look at their digital stuff as an afterthought, but looking critically at their site, while it does a good job showcasing their videos and podcasts, the news is almost buried, making it seem secondary and not a place to come for breaking sports news.

Another example is the Break, their humourous online show that looks at dubious sports headlines with Renee Paquette. It’s a nice snack to go with my sports diet as opposed to a meal of live events and highlights. On the plus side, they cite Paquette as an example of how they can grow their own personalities, and talked of developing the Break into a series. Since sports humour is very hot right now (The Onion SportsDome, Norm MacDonald’s oncoming Comedy Central series), that is something I’d be very curious to see.

In an app world, the Score already has apps for all mobile platforms and talks of taking advantage of new tablets, in addition to planning to build more, focusing on specific sports, talking up a recent ScoreFC football app that is gaining traction in Britain. Perhaps out of necessity, the Score is looking internationally for new audiences and revenue, saying they have plans to open up an ad sales office in the U.S. soon. The question for the network is if they can find a way to monetize that global audience, which is a challenge for any small player.

Locally speaking, the other fear is that they become little more than a farm team of talent for the bigger players. Their model is an interesting one, and one that bears watching as every media company moves from a broadcast-centric model to more of a web-centric one, and they admittedly feel further along than most. We’ll be checking our TVs, phones and tablets to see how they do.