I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season and that 2012 is off to a productive start.
The 2011 calendar year brought us record-breaking success and the 2011-12 school year looks to be equally promising.
Consumers continue to embrace your All-Access product, with consumption behavior driven by unique, live game audio and video content. In 2011, we experienced YOY double-digit All-Access revenue growth and Q1 2012 should be as strong. Fans understand and are willing to pay for live game content they cannot access elsewhere.
Advertising sales are healthy. It seems marketers continue to allocate more of their budget to digital media and that the economy is slowly rebounding.
Your Silver Chalice mobile apps are highly rated and consumers are using these devices to access your content when desired.
2011 Cyber Monday sales were up 18.5% YOY and on par with the overall e-commerce industry's YOY Cyber Monday increase (18%).
Missouri launched a digital network to grow their brand and fan base.
Thank you for continuing to allocate the necessary resources to the digital space. Clearly, your efforts play a significant role in our collective success. Enjoy the issue.
As of mid-January, the landing page generated over 38,500 page views and close to 1,200 t-shirts had been sold.
In partnership with CBS Interactive and Learfield Sports, the University of Missouri launched the Mizzou Network in early December to expand the reach of their athletic and university brand. You can view the initiative here.
If you are interested in exploring a similar offering for your school, please contact your University Relations representative.
While it took hard work on and off the field for Griffin to win the award, his early Heisman presence was given an online boost from the Baylor athletic office and BU-RG3.com, the official Heisman Trophy website of Griffin created by CBSSports.com College Network.
This Heisman site is unique in that it has a short, catchy URL, easy-to-reach content with a sleek design and a simple, effective logo.
The site, along with a Twitter and Facebook push, helped give RG3 the edge in the Heisman race.
You can read more about the successful campaign here.
Content Syndication: All-Access
In the fourth quarter, CBSSports.com promoted content from many of our Network partners. Our schools also took advantage of CBSSports.com content to enhance their own coverage. Highlights include:
CBSSports.com promotion of Midnight Madness events for Florida State, Georgetown, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Memphis, Michigan State, Minnesota and West Virginia
CBS provided TCU a CBSSports.com interview with James Brown and Bob Schieffer relating to the Horned Frogs' move to the Big 12. Because TCU is a member of the CBSSports.com College Network, CBSSports.com had no rights issues lending the video per the school's request.
Distribution Partner Update: Brand Thunder
Our branded browser partner, Brand Thunder, recently ran a download promotion on our network that gave users the chance to win a Fat Head. The ad and email campaign was well received by fans (64% click through rate) and ultimately increased the number of branded browser monthly users by 14% across the network.
Our national ad sales team has been making great strides this school year. Some notable achievements include:
November sales were up 10% YOY.
The first ever season long multi-sport GameTracker sponsorship started in December. State Farm is the exclusive presenting sponsor of all approved College Basketball and College Hockey GameTrackers.
Q1 sales are pacing ahead of schedule, including the sale of March All-Access.
Homepage takeover sales are strong due to packaging with CBSSports.com homepage takeovers.
Cyber Monday Results
On Cyber Monday, CBSSports.com College Network partners' sales were up 18.5% compared to 2010 and slightly over the overall e-commerce industry's 18% YOY growth on this day.
New Student Emails
Johns Hopkins Athletics worked with their University's admissions department to include an OAS store link in an email to each "early decision" incoming freshman prior to the holidays. Based on the overwhelming success of this initiative, JHU plans to promote the store via a second email to regular-admission students this spring.
For any questions or additional information on how your school can duplicate this initiative, feel free to contact your University Relations representative.
Article Page Toolbar
In July of 2009, CBS created the "Article Page Toolbar," which brought together the existing "Print" and "E-Mail Article" features and the newly-developed "Share" and "Text Adjust" features. The "Share" function allowed users to begin sharing, more easily, your content through one of seven popular social networks.
Near the end of 2010, we completed the addition of Facebook's "Like" button to the toolbar. This addition had an immediate impact, significantly increasing Facebook referrals. While "Share" numbers remain low, we have seen many articles exceed 1,000 "Likes" - some topping 5,000.
We're now taking the next step. Our second version of the toolbar provides the following:
1) Large expansion of "Share" options
2) A more attractive and prominent presentation of the toolbar functions
3) Addition of Google's +1
4) Visible "Share" and "Like" counters
Additionally, we have changed the presentation of the "Print," "E-Mail Article" and "Text Adjust" features to match the presentation of the social components.
You can read more about the "Article Page Toolbar" here and view a live example here.
We have completed Phase I of the Bio/Roster project. In early October, we went live with the association tools and on November 1, we began presenting associated articles, audio/video and photos (via photo galleries) in bios. You can view a live example here.
This example displays multiple recent developments/upgrades:
1. Associated Content
2. The new toolbar (while called the Article Page Toolbar, we present in a variety of other places)
3. Bio stats (automated from upload of a .xml file)
4. Bio header (via design and editorial, the old MTT box - piece containing name, number, headshot, vitals - is quickly on its way out)
You can read more about the project here. Please contact you Managing Editor with further questions.
For most textual content, CBSSports.com College Network can assist you with implementing QR codes. The codes have many potential applications such as: replacing/reducing the printing of a Game Day program, delivering additional content to fans/media attending an event (weekly release/game notes), delivering a seating chart, complementing media guide content, etc.
Implementation can help your school save time, money and effort in the long run, as well as drive fans to your site.
It is important to note that while QR Codes work great for fully-enabled Smartphones, there will be fans that cannot make use of the code because of their devices. Those users will be directed to the homepage of the mobile site rather than the intended destination of the QR code. Blackberries and other devices without full browsers are examples of limited devices. The majority of the market uses Android or iPhone, but you should take the limitations into consideration and be prepared to address them through rules/requirements, perhaps where the code is presented.
If you would like to explore using QR codes for your site, please contact your University Relations representative.
Mobile Metrics for Silver Chalice
The Official School App program, powered by our partner Silver Chalice, finished 2011 with over 300,000 downloads of official school apps across iOS, Android and BlackBerry platforms.
Fans are flocking to these apps in droves, driving several school apps to the Top 150 Free iOS Applications and Top 200 Free Android Applications. Fans continue to value our live streaming content as well, with over 22,000 subscriptions sold for live audio within the apps.
For our partners utilizing the Silver Chalice apps, we now have platform-specific links in the footer of your mobile web sites that direct fans to download the apps to their devices.
For partners with GameTracker mobile, you will find download links in the footer of your mobile sites, as well.
After shattering All-Access subscription sales records for a single month in September, our partners upped the ante by breaking All-Access sales records for the year. With football still bringing viewers to our All-Access products and basketball tipping off the season with Midnight Madness events, exhibition games and early non-conference games, 18 OAS partners had over 1,000 active monthly users at the end of November, and one product, the Big Ten Digital Network, surpassed 10,000 active monthly users.
November, September and October were the three highest-grossing subscription months in All-Access history.
Congratulations to all of our All-Access partners for making 2011 a record-breaking year!
Thank you for your continued support. Please send us any feedback that will help us improve our quarterly newsletter.
Regards, Robert Schupler
SVP, University Sales and Marketing
CBSSports.com College Network