The Sun’s launch of betting site Sun Bets is part of the publisher’s move to open up new revenue streams beyond its flagship newspaper, recognising that in the struggling print market having one offering that attempts to meet all audience needs will not uphold the business.
To counter this, the publisher is attempting to marry its content and commercial offerings by building out brand extensions for each subset of its audience. Sun Bets taps into the Sun’s sporting audience that are regular betters, who it claims are in an abundance since “50 per cent of the UK betting audience are Sun readers”.
The betting proposition will tie directly into what the Sun’s journalists are writing about, to cross-promote with the content. The Sun hopes through its betting site the brand can act as a “one-stop-shop” for someone reading sport content, getting the betting information and then being able to place a bet.
“Our readers can now come to our content and they don’t have to leave us to bet on it,” Kate Bird, marketing director of betting & gaming at the Sun told The Drum. “It makes it a rounded experience for our readers.”
The UK online betting and gaming market is highly saturated and last year over £73 billion was wagered across the marketplace, according to the publisher. The Sun believes it can cut through in this competitive market because it has a “powerful brand”, is the number one newspaper for sport, and a “strong personality”, something other bookmakers “try to invent”, Bird opined.
What’s more, the Sun claims its “unique tone of voice” will help the betting proposition have a strong entrance to the market, differentiating itself from long established bookmaker William Hill, and “mischievous” brand Paddy Power.
Sun Bets is the latest addition to the tabloid's stable of sport and entertainment products, and follows on from the Dream Team fantasy football game and Sun Bingo. It is set to complement News UK's Premier League and Scottish Premier League highlight video rights as well as the company's proposed acquisition of Wireless Group, which owns stations TalkSport and TalkSport 2.
The betting proposition is a “perfect fit” to market on Wireless’ sport radio channels, with Bird asserting the brand will “absolutely market on those stations” should the acquisition deal go through.
Sun Bets will have its own desktop site as well as both iOS and Android apps, though it will not act as an existing part of the Sun site. That said, internal ad spots on the both sites will allow for link backs.
The marketing campaign to trumpet the launch goes live this Saturday (6 August) to coincide with the Charity Shield match and the start of the 2016/17 Premier League. The launch of Sun Bets has been timed to fall perfectly with the Premier League, a peak acquisition period for bookmakers.
The Sun Bet’s social channels on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Youtube will turn on today (4 August). A TV advert to support the launch of Sun Bets will air on 13 August, to kick off the Premier League season.
Since the Sun has a wide reach, Bird said it “makes sense to run all our marketing through our owned channels”. As such, the Sun will “go heavy” on internal marketing across its site, including homepage takeovers and digital displays across its the Sun Online, Sun football, The Favourite and its fantasy football game Dream Team, which it claims has 1.4m million registered users.
News UK’s chief executive Rebekah Brooks, said of the launch: “This is a hugely significant juncture for News UK and The Sun, marking the start of an era where new brands and revenue generating streams are being created on the back of the strength and much sought-after reach of The Sun. Sun Bets is set to be a game-changer in the online betting world and to those asking if it will be a success, the simple answer is YouBetcha”.