By Hans Ebert
While those he once worked with in horse racing in the land of Oz are busy running after pipe dreams, and happy to be big fish flopping around inside a small tumbler of water in, what is, let’s face it, an insignificant industry to many, former head of TVN- Bruce Mann- is back after a short sabbatical.
Bruce Mann is not only back, he’s back with a vengeance in what looks like being a brilliant global gig that plays to his strengths, and one that’s a million light years away from horse racing, where he had to constantly fight the enemy within.
By now, we know he didn’t have a chance in hell of succeeding in the job he was hired to do. TVN, the racing channel he was brought in to head up, was born and christened Humpty Dumpty, and we all knew it was only a matter of time before it fell flat on its face and became an omelette. Wasn’t that always the end game? And if it was, what was the point in playing with Humpty only to dump it?
It must have taken the patience of Job for Bruce Mann to wake up every morning, and find the internal fortitude to get through the day knowing full well everything presented would never ever see the light of day.
Moving fast forward, the official press release below says it all about where Bruce Mann is heading.
Bruce is now in a much bigger, better, and more multi-dimensional global industry, where content really is king. Content in horse racing? What is it apart from paddock parades, a few interviews and the races?
There can be much more to the sport than this at a time when everything- television, movies, video games and the visual side of music- is being viewed differently. But arriving here- to this garden of change- depends on those who truly understand customer demographics, and marketing a variety of strategically created original product- and in more than one language- to the world by using the various delivery platforms available with partners outside of horse racing. And in what will be an ironic twist of fate, the odds of Bruce Mann working with horse racing and a horse racing club- but not with anyone in Oz- are definitely not slim.
He will have the Rights to content that will appeal to a very wide customer base, and which the one-time “Sport Of Kings” needs in order to attract a new generation of potential racing fans. Right now, from a global perspective, horse racing is a sport caught up in a time warp, and, as Bob Dylan sang, with no direction of home, like a complete unknown, and like a rolling stone. It’s been lost in Juarez when it’s Easter time, too, and gravity fails and negativity can’t pull you through.
Horse racing needs its Olde World channels and information data for that particular market too set in their ways, and which is its core customer cluster. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. It doesn’t take an Einstein or a buffoon like The Donald to realise that this makes perfect business sense.
However, working with third party partners, horse racing- and the few savvy racing clubs- must realise that it and they need their own MTV- along with its versions of E! and YouTube, and Apple and Google. These are needed to reach a much wider audience- and sponsors with equally huge databases- and with inter-active content that showcases and presents the sport in more innovative ways- ways that will create new business streams in the wagering landscape. And this will happen much sooner than some might think as it’s been long overdue.