January 21, 2021

How DAZN Became the “Netflix For Sports”

by Marilyn Wilkinson

DAZN, the world’s largest host broadcaster for sport, is often described as the “Netflix for sports”. For a business that’s less than five years old, that’s pretty impressive. So how did DAZN achieve market leader status in a competitive industry so quickly? Well, we thought it would be fun to run the numbers. Using our AI-powered brand tracking technology, we surveyed 500 people in the UK to uncover DAZN’s brand performance and conduct an analysis of DAZN’s brand funnel. Read on to discover exclusive insights into one of the fastest-growing brands of all time, plus tips on how you can try to replicate its success.

Who is DAZN?

DAZN is the world’s first global live and on-demand streaming service dedicated to sport. Their mission? Connect fans to the sports they love, their way.

Headquartered in London, DAZN initially launched in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan in 2016, followed by the US, Canada, Brazil, Italy, and Spain.

Their plans to expand into 200 new markets and territories last year were thwarted by the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, but they did manage to launch in the UK in December 2020. Let’s take a closer look at how their brand is doing in the UK so far.

What Does Latana Data Reveal About DAZN?

Using exclusive insights from the Latana brand tracking platform, we measured DAZN’s brand performance at every stage of the brand funnel among different audiences in the UK. Here’s what we found.

DAZN Is Most Popular With Younger Audiences

DAZN is most popular among 18-25-year-olds in terms of brand awareness. 8.98% have heard of DAZN, over half would consider using the brand, and over a third actually prefer using DAZN over their direct competitors. Impressive results considering DAZN only launched in the UK very recently.

7.30% of millennials in the UK have heard of DAZN, which is slightly lower than Generation Z. The values for brand consideration, preference, and usage are very similar.

Only 4.71% of the general population has heard of DAZN. The rest of their brand funnel looks very healthy, but to take their brand to the next level, we would recommend increasing awareness beyond their key target group, which appears to be younger males.

Female Users Are An Untapped Audience

Females are a largely untapped audience, with just 2.34% aware of the brand. This is not surprising. So far, DAZN has focused on male-dominated sports and their brand ambassadors are men. Exploring sports more popular with women and partnering with female sports stars could help elevate their brand awareness among a new group.

DAZN already purchased the rights to the English Women’s Super League in Germany and Italy. This is a smart move considering the dramatic increase in popularity of women’s football and suggests that DAZN is committed to growing brand awareness and branching out into new customer cohorts.

While brand awareness figures might be low, DAZN is performing well as a new brand in a recently launched market, especially in driving consumers down the brand funnel. Let’s take a look at how DAZN has achieved its successes in a market where they launched about a month ago, and how they can use strategies driving growth in other markets to drive sales in the UK.

What’s The Secret Behind DAZN’s Success?

From the very beginning, DAZN had extremely ambitious plans for growth – an approach the company refers to as “supersizing”.

Priced at an initial £1.99 a month, or a similar amount in other markets, DAZN is more cost-effective than a Sky subscription or the traditional pay-per-view model, where fans pay up to €25 to watch a single boxing match. This could partly explain the high levels of brand consideration and usage shown in our data.

But DAZN didn’t achieve record growth in other markets just by being a low-cost alternative. So, other than having the courage to think big and keeping their pricing realistic, what else did they get right?

Three Ways the DAZN Marketing Strategy Drives Growth

1. Use Data to Understand Your Audience

As a digital-first broadcaster, DAZN tracks every stream and uses custom algorithms to evaluate their content. This gives them a deeper understanding of their target audience compared to traditional broadcasters. We know from the brand tracking data that around a third of consumers prefer DAZN over other brands in the same sector. Simply put, DAZN knows what people want and gives it to them.

DAZN even uses data and insights to guide their overall business strategy – expansion into new markets and offering new content is all data-driven. Executive Vice President Joe Markowski revealed in an interview that if consumer demand meets content and distribution opportunities, DAZN will consider expanding into a market.

2. Create Top-Quality Content

Unlike traditional broadcasters with overheads and quotas to fill, DAZN prides itself on only showing what is valuable to their customers. Their main focus is on exclusive live rights, owning Serie A in Italy, the Bundesliga and Champions League football in Germany, and Formula 1 in Japan.

They are also busy building a portfolio of premium, high-end content, known as DAZN Originals, which aims to combine sports with storytelling. The first global DAZN Originals series was “The Making Of”, featuring intimate solo interviews of athletes. With no reporter or journalist present, sports stars simply told their own stories, in their own way.

This kind of highly-creative, original programming means DAZN provides additional value to their already loyal customer base as well as attracting new customers – which explains the high level of brand usage and preference we identified in the brand analysis.

3. Leverage Partnerships and Influencers

You don’t have to do everything on your own. An African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

DAZN has gone far and fast by building a network of global ambassadors, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and José Mourinho. They all enjoy an unparalleled level of credibility and popularity among sports fans, especially younger audiences, who according to our data were most likely to have heard of DAZN.

That’s not all – DAZN nurtures relationships with platform operators, sports websites, and apps to increase reach beyond their own channels. They have even managed to keep traditional sports broadcasters such as Sky largely on their side.

How DAZN Uses Influencers to Build a Global Brand

Ronaldo became DAZN’s first global ambassador, making him the face of the brand in all its markets, in a move described as a “no brainer” by the Chief Marketing Officer at the time, Johnny Devitt.

The partnership developed when Ronaldo transferred from Real Madrid to Juventus of Italy, where DAZN launched their streaming services in the same month.

Why Ronaldo? Well, according to DAZN CEO James Rushton told PrimeTime Sport: “Cristiano is undoubtedly a legend, fans love him and that’s why we wanted to work with him. He’s a big sports fan himself, so having him advocate the work we’re doing is perfect.”

Signing Ronaldo wasn’t originally in DAZN’s marketing budget, but armed with a deep understanding of their target audience, DAZN saw the opportunity and took it. As a result, they were able to leverage the sporting superstar’s substantial social media presence. With 252 million Instagram followers, Ronaldo is one of the most popular celebrities on the platform.

Traditionally, brands have used their celebrity ambassadors for product placements or TV commercials. DAZN, however, announced the partnership with an exclusive video interview created by Matt Smith, the director behind the award-winning Rio Ferdinand film Being Mum and Dad and the David Beckham documentary.

DAZN would probably just say they show fans what they want to see. As marketers, we understand that DAZN uses influencers to amplify its content strategy.

Final Thoughts

DAZN uses a powerful combination of data, content, and partnerships to turn customers into fans – an approach that has been highly successful for their brand. That said, there is scope for further growth. Marketing to new audiences, particularly older and/or female viewers, would help increase their overall brand awareness.

You might not be in a position to sign Ronaldo, but if you would like to “supersize” your own brand, you can learn a lot from DAZN’s customer-centric growth strategy. How well do you know your target audience? Check out our free guide on how to identify and track relevant audiences to drive brand growth.

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