|Title||MONTY: THE WORLD'S FIRST PREDICTIVE COMMENTATOR|
|Product / Service||FOX CRICKET|
|Category||A08. Media / Entertainment|
|Entrant||MINDSHARE Sydney, AUSTRALIA|
|Idea Creation||MINDSHARE Sydney, AUSTRALIA|
|Media Placement||MINDSHARE Sydney, AUSTRALIA|
|Production||GOOGLE AUSTRALIA Pyrmont, AUSTRALIA|
|Production 2||OOH MEDIA Sydney, AUSTRALIA|
|Additional Company||OPTA SPORTS London, UNITED KINGDOM|
|Jack Smyth||Mindshare Sydney||Head of Innovation|
|Simon Wallace||Mindshare WW||Data Science Partner|
|Drew Jarrett||Google Australia||Customer Solutions Engineer|
|Yuliya Kudryavtseva||Google Australia||Ads Solutions Consultant|
|Steve Cliffe||oOh! Media||Creative Manager|
The world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) sports commentator, ‘Monty’, has transformed the way Australians watch cricket. Monty watched every single ball in every single game, triggering dynamic creative across pre-roll video, mobile display ads and outdoor billboards when he spotted a wicket. Fans quickly recognised him as the season’s breakout star. The model ensured they never missed a play worth paying for. Monty delivered an 18% increase in average weekly sales and Fox Cricket became the number-one channel for share.
Foxtel is Australia’s premium subscription TV network, home to the FOX Sports network and an aggressive player in the nation’s sports rights market. Foxtel’s AU$600m broadcast deal for cricket was a strategically vital investment to secure a competitive advantage over the next six years. And, with a price tag like that, expectations for the cricket launch campaign were extraordinarily high: • Acquire new subscribers, while also reducing CPA by 40% • Steal share of free-to-air viewing from CH7 • Become number-one channel on Foxtel This would be an intimidating brief at the best of times. To make matters worse, thanks to Australia’s arcane sport licensing laws, we were asking fans to pay for a product they could still partially enjoy free of charge through competitor broadcaster CH7. We had to create a cricket experience unique to Foxtel, a new way to watch the game that would set our subscription apart.
The only way to hit our targets was to create an entirely new consideration set. We wouldn’t compete with free cricket - we’d create an entirely new cricket experience worth paying for. To understand what fans would be willing to pay for we built a detailed map of major matches where we could trace fan attention and engagement for each play, overlaid with social conversation data, revealing what mattered and when. The results were striking. Despite millions of Australians following the game every summer, few ever saw the best plays on the pitch. The fan’s favourite play – taking a wicket – accounts for only 18 seconds of the average 30-hour game and the majority only saw it through replays. This was our key insight – most key moments in our audience’s favourite sporting pastime had never been seen truly live.
We knew we had to deliver more value for the subscription and ensure fans never missed a moment worth paying for. In short, we had to predict wickets. So we created the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) predictive commentator for cricket: ‘Monty’. He tells you when a wicket is about to fall and makes sure you are watching when it does. Monty watched every single ball from last year’s season and tracks 83 variables in live games every time the bowler begins his run up (pitch condition, weather, speed of delivery, etc). With our creative idea coming to life through cutting edge tech, our media strategy was designed to turn every impression into a prediction: investing 3:1 into data against standard media. We prioritised channels that adapt in real time and keep pace with the game: digital video, digital outdoor, display, app and voice.
Once trained, we let Monty loose on live games where he tracked 83 variables for every single ball of live play, across every single international game of the season. He overlaid his training data with what happened five minutes earlier to predict what would happen in the next five minutes. When he spotted a wicket coming, he triggered creative across pre-roll video, mobile display and outdoor billboards. The call to action urged people to tune in to Fox Cricket and watch the wicket fall. Subscribers never missed the big plays and the public witnessed how Fox could predict the future. A Google Assistant integration allowed fans to ask Fox Cricket for Monty's call through the Google Home during live play and our API was integrated into the Fox Cricket app for instant predictions and enhanced visualisations. For the first time ever, fans were watching on their terms.
Monty correctly predicted more than 1,867 wickets across the season with an average accuracy of 79% for live deliveries. Our aggressive strategy to invest in data over inventory, and create an entirely new way to watch the game, paid off. Monty over-delivered against every core objective: Acquire new subscribers and reduce CPA by 40% – average weekly sales increased 18% post-launch and CPA was 61% below average (i.e. 53% above target). Steal share of free-to-air viewing – CH7 share of P16-54 dropped to 20.8% from 49.9% (CH9 – previous rights holder) year prior. Become number-one channel on Foxtel – We were number one for share, beating the full-year performance of every other channel … despite only launching in September.