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Asian RC 2: Strategies In Changing Environment

Wednesday, 14th April 2010

The 2nd day of the Asian Racing Conference also included a presentation from Singapore Turf Club vice-president of racing Soong Tze Ming on "Strategies To Compete In A Changing Business Environment" followed by speakers commenting on: the prospects of co-mingling; the need for a profitable model for racing; & engaging consumers in a clutter society.

  •  Soong commented on the challenge of their customers "having a much wider array of entertainment & gaming options to spend their money on", plus the increased sophistication & competition from illegal bookmakers & from on-line betting operators not based in Singapore that are taking bets on Singapore racing that is broadcast live in Australia, but not paying a product fee.
  •  Tabcorp chief executive Elmer Funke Kupper briefed the conference on the progress of international co-mingling & noted Tabcorp's Sky Media division is broadcasting in 2010 with co-mingled pools & racing from Australia, New Zealand & South Africa, and by 2011 "that will increase to Singapore, UK/Ireland, USA/Canada co-mingling & significant potential in the future with Hong Kong & France". Funke Kupper said a 3rd channel Sky Racing World commencing broadcasting in Australia will "schedule the best 4-5 meetings from Australia, New Zealand & Asia, along with the best meetings from around the world in the UK, South Africa & Europe" & US expansion is planned. He noted Sky "will launch a global thoroughbred racing channel improving the quality of vision to support further co-mingling growth, becoming the CNN of racing". Funke Kupper identified key issues for the industry as: free loaders; double dipping on racefields legislation; scheduling of races for broadcasting; tax exemptions; & the consistency of integrity & regulatory processes between racing countries.
  •  Citi Global Markets director Jenny Owen said racing "must come up with increased wagering to survive", while commenting the industry was "suited to follow the rapid development of broadband for on-line wagering" but suggesting "a new model was necessary to survive". Owen commented it was difficult for the financial industry to "see where the racing & wagering industry was speaking with 'one voice'. Racing needs a profitable model to survive, otherwise it will not attract capital." She noted governments would not engage with wagering & gambling "unless there were arguments such as employment, tax revenues & infrastructure to fund growth".
  •  The growth of broadband use was analysed by Dentsu senior research director Koichi Yamamoto, who explained the "hyper clutter that now surrounds everyone" & suggested "the way individuals socialise with technology is a challenge for the industry to expand on". Yamamoto said research showed people aged 10-20 "already spend more time on their mobile devices than on a personal computer" & all customers "are constantly exposed to a steam of new information" which has "led to consumers becoming increasingly indifferent about wanting to know new trends & products. They are getting numb." Yamamoto argued a "new way is required to engage today's consumer" & cited the example that consumers are "not using mega stars & films to find out what is new, but are using social networks & multi-media to see what interests them". For racing this "creates advantages of having a real-time live presence between race days using blogs & driving continuous consumer conversations on social media". Yamamoto noted the risk of using social media is that it is "uncontrollable. But the risk of not doing anything outweighs the risks. Just dive in & do social media." Yamamoto emphasised the ability for racing to create a presence by talking about horse racing excitement with consumer involvement & using "consumers to influence other consumers, which in turn drives the media as a force".
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