Peter has ended his presentation with an exaltation to restructure our financial future†_x0013_ a key element of that restructuring is the licensing of data.
I recognise that a full exposition of DLP may not be the most attractive stimulant at 11:30 on a Thursday morning; however, if I can avoid some of the jargon and detail that can induce instant stupor on such a topic I do believe that you will quickly recognise that a significant proportion of the incremental income Peter alluded to in his presentation is deliverable through the pro-active management of a vitally important asset of the racing industry: DATA.
We all are, I’m sure, fully aware of the Industry’s current package of data, as detailed within the standard racecard shown here. We are also aware of the majority of uses to which this data can be put. Until recently this usage has been almost exclusively what is termed “passive”, but with the rapid technological developments within the media and communications industries this usage is now of an “active” nature – familiar active representations being the Internet, interactive TV and mobile devices.
I said just a minute ago that I would try to avoid going into too much detail but please bear with me to enable me to provide an example of the exciting new capabilities for data:
DATA is just one of 5 possible marketable and sellable representations of Racing: (DATA), TEXT, PHOTOGRAPHY, AUDIO and VISUAL/VIDEO being the others. In the digital world in which we now live data can be re-formatted to generate text, audio and visual representation thus instantly broadening the scale and scope of the opportunity for Racing.
It is because Racing’s data is the perfect content for interactive technology that the opportunity is so exciting – after all data is the only content essential to all betting across all platforms.
The value of Racing’s data is significantly enhanced due to its timeliness, accuracy (with grateful appreciation here to Johnny Weatherby and all at Weatherbys for their invaluable contribution to ensuring that this is indeed the case) and its aggregation. Updated on a daily basis the market for Racing’s data is the envy of all other sports, many of which strive to create a demand for their content which does not currently exist. It is Racing that is the authentic, original sports database!
But let us not get too carried away here, Racing has a long way to go to maximise the return from one of its principal assets.
Enhancement of our offering through product development is vital to ensure an effective and wider exposure in a rapidly evolving environment. This will require Industry investment to maintain the desirability and quality of Racing’s data.
So this, then, touches on the scale of Racing’s opportunity – DATA – a most valuable asset that provides such a perfect fit to the plans and aspirations of many e-commerce specialists and such an enticement to others looking to expand their sphere of operation into such new platforms.
How to effectively control and develop and gain due financial return from such activities has been the focus of some 9 months work within the BHB.
On Tuesday of this week the principles of our Data Licensing Policy were presented to, and approved by, the BHB Board.
In very brief form the fundamentals of the policy are:
1. The BHB will make the Industry’s data as widely available as possible by operating worldwide across all platforms.
2. A charge will be made for all commercial use of the data.
3. This charge will be royalty based to ensure that, whilst there will be minimum barriers to entry, Racing will share in all growth.
The mechanisms of how we will achieve this are that through the issuance of open, direct licences on a non-exclusive basis, the BHB will ensure that there are no hidden deals being struck, that we maintain control of our product and we ensure as wide an uptake as possible. And in case anyone here today is a current licence holder I would point out that we will honour all our existing data licences until they reach their termination date.
One current issue that is clearly of relevance with our policy is that of competition law – Tristram will refer to the William Hill case in a few minutes – but as a governing authority we are very aware of our responsibilities and the inherent risks arising from challenges such as that from William Hill Organisation. However, through the detailed advice we have received and the Justice Laddie ruling we are confident that the policy outlined is sustainable.
The BHB aims to significantly enhance the data package currently offered and over time we will establish a clear identity including a trademark for British Racing Data which will help in the achievement of our objectives: to increase the scale, scope and availability of the data, expanding our customer base and hence revenues returned to British Racing.
Whilst the aims and objectives of this licensing policy will form a growing part of the extended commercial focus of the BHB’s management team it is, nonetheless, but a part of the day to day running of the business.
This past year has heaped an enormous burden on all departments, with the added crisis of Foot and Mouth stretching all to their limits. On this it is reassuring to note that our initial serious concerns on the implications on the BHB’s finances arising from the outbreak have significantly diminished as a result of prudent cost control and the continuance of high levels of entries.
These high entries and some positive racegoer figures of late illustrate the pent-up demand that our winter of disease and storm have created.
What we would all like to see is a steady upward curve on all graphs – to this end we eagerly await the launch of the DISCOVER RACING campaign on 9th July that will gain significant unparalleled nationwide exposure for our sport.
I am under strict instructions not to reveal any of the excellent programme in advance of the launch but have every confidence that the targeted work of the Racing and Betting Marketing Group will result in increases in racegoing and betting, and begin the process of a more positive outlook on the way Racing presents itself to the outside world.
How we present ourselves is, of course, so vital to the marketability and saleability of our sport. Unfortunately we continue to be overly exercised by matters that the outside world have little interest in.
It must be a shared hope of everyone here today that we can very soon focus all our attention on the many areas of product enhancement required to ensure that we can deliver an ever-improving quality racing product and service to all our various customers, be they owners, racegoers, punters or the betting industry itself.
On such a note I would now like to hand you over to Tristram Ricketts