Younger audiences have been at the forefront of watching video on connected devices like mobile phones, tablets and smart TVs. Team Whistle seeks to engage those audiences with original content while also supporting brand integrations that help marketers prolong exposure to their brands.

The digital sports and entertainment company has more than 50 series distributed among more than 30 different platforms for teens and young adults. Its video programming recently surpassed 4 billion views among social media outlets including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube. Global TV sports programmer Eleven Sports in March reached a deal to acquire Team Whistle.

“We know the younger audience viewing behavior is different now,” Anthony Susi, vice president of over-the-top sales at Team Whistle, said in this interview with Beet.TV. “We see a trend in the decline in live sports viewing, so for us to air sport-adjacent content in a time when we see live sports declining has resonated with our audience.”

Younger viewers prefer to watch highlight reels instead of sitting through a two-and-a-half-hour game. They also seek human interest stories that show the more relatable side of professional athletes, such as their personal activities away from the game.

Seamless Branding

Team Whistle provides ways for marketers to integrate their messaging within brand-safe content that helps to create positive sentiment among consumers. The company works with native advertising technology company TripleLift to offer customized product placements within programming.

“Working with TripleLift in this CTV space also brings a different level of opportunity to these brands,” Susi said. “It’s not just in the ad breaks, but finding unique moments within a program to add in contextually relevant branding.”

Integrated branding can help to reach viewers when they’re most engaged with content, in contrast to commercial breaks that interrupt programming. The integration helps to improve brand recall.

“The same way that content wants to connect with an audience, brands want to connect with their audience,” Susi said. “That’s a unique play that we offer, especially with our branded content side and something with TripleLift and their unique offering.”

Looking ahead, Team Whistle is planning to expand its Whistle TV programming for connected TV so that it runs continuously without days off or seasonal interruptions.

“We have a great new programming slate for the back half of this year leading into 2020,” Susi said. “Partners can partner with us in that branded content way, but also in strategic partnership ways with opportunities like TripleLift.”

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