Racing UK was established in March 2004 as a dedicated horseracing channel and is owned by 30 of the UK’s premier race courses. Broadcast on Sky digital 432 or Telewest channel 537 as part of the Setanta Sports Service, the company sells subscription services to both domestic and commercial customers.
A new commercial B2B opportunity that would require bespoke outbound campaigns.
The channel was launched, initially as a 3-month “free” service to subscribers of Sky and the cable operators, to whet the appetite of horse racing enthusiasts. The initial uptake was excellent and the channel now has 40,000 domestic subscribers. What became apparent early on was that the commercial market, i.e. pubs and clubs etc, were also extremely interested in subscribing as it provided an opportunity to boost their business during the normally quiet afternoon periods. The commercial market represented a new business opportunity for the channel and is an ideal addition to the current SKY football offering as racing is screened when football is not.
Responding to this challenge the Racing Channel hired Jeremy Spencer to head up its commercial sales division. He had previously sold ITV’s “championship” football package to the same market, therefore had a wealth of experience in the type of campaigns required to fully develop this opportunity.
Spencer explains how he approached this new challenge, “The campaign targeted pubs and clubs and offered them a perfect way to both increase their trade and keep their customers longer. Using “live” racing would provide an opportunity to increase their revenues at times when there was no other “live” sport to watch. The package offered over 600 live races from 30 of UK’s top race courses. The package also includes a highlights programme, “Racing Replay”, in the evening, which has proved to be really popular with the licensed customer that has been at work all day. The channel represents great value for money for the publican as in real terms they need to sell an extra 3 pints a day to cover the monthly subscription of £100.”
Racing UK uses an “off-shore” outsourced call centre based in Mauritius that answers all the inbound calls from new subscribers and provides an activation service, making the channel live within 24 hours. He continues, “We knew, however that regardless of how professional the “off-shore” centre was, to sell this service to the “savvy” British publican, the callers had to be native speakers and have some knowledge of the racing industry. We needed to engage a local UK contact centre that could provide us with the control that we needed to tailor campaigns according to the specific market and package therefore gaining the respect of the landlords”
A UK based inbound and outbound operation trained to meet the specialised needs of the market.
To find an outsourcer that could meet this specification, Spencer decided to use Converso, as he had previously worked with them.
Spencer comments on the selection decision, “I had worked with Converso and was impressed by their professional, friendly and enthusiastic approach. They met all of my selection criteria, which was important because it is critical to present a correct and credible message to publicans and club managers. Another important element was that they are UK based and the staff had a reasonable knowledge of the British racing scene and were familiar with the race courses, such as Doncaster, York etc., and the main “headline” events such as the Derby, The National and the Gold Cup.”
Converso provides both an inbound and outbound service to the racing channel. The inbound service operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and the outbound calls are performed by a specialised team, trained by the Racing Channel, to follow up response to other mailing activities. The “off shore” call centre is still employed and provides the activation and financial requirements of Racing UK.
Really helped grow the base and significantly enhance the brand.
Spencer comments on the results of the Converso experience so far, “Using an outsourcer, such as Converso is a perfect solution to meet our business
development requirements. We can turn it on and off dependent on our current needs and integrate it with other direct marketing initiatives. Over the past 12 months Converso has contributed enormously to the growth of Racing UK who now have approx 1,500 commercial subscribers.”
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