Rogers takeover of Score Media may boost younger techsavvy viewership

Rogers’ deal to buy Score Media Inc. will bring younger viewers with its headline sports news and information and access to digital technology for mobile devices, the head of Rogers Media said Monday.Score Media’s niche programming will complement mainstream sports coverage by Rogers’ Sportsnet and Sportsnet 1, said Keith Pelley, president of the media division.“Really, what they have done is gone after a younger demographic than we have,” Pelley said from Toronto.Pelley said about 70% of Score Media’s audience is under 50. [np-related /]“So when you talk about the actual event programing, it’s a younger demographic,” he said, noting Score Media covers World Wrestling Entertainment events, some martial arts and some Canadian and U.S. college sports.Rogers is competing with heavyweight rival TSN, owned by Bell, for sports fans.Shares in Score Media Inc. closed another 12% higher Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange after the $167-million, or $1.62 per share offer by Rogers Communications Inc.Shares in Score Media closed at $1.72, up 18 cents — higher than what Rogers has offered. Its stock jumped nearly 47% on Friday on reports that Rogers would buy Score Media and Rogers announced the deal early Saturday.Pelley said Score Media is different from other sports broadcasters because it offers constant sports results and information.“It can only broadcast 15% of its day with live event coverage.”The Score also is well-known among sports fans for its mobile apps, which offer real-time scores and statistics. The company has credited its fast-growing mobile platform for much of the revenue growth it has seen in the past year.Score Media’s digital assets will be spun out to its existing shareholders, with Rogers Media retaining a 10% equity interest in the digital media business. Rogers Media will also have access to Score Media’s digital technology for its own mobile offerings.“The biggest advantage that this will bring is that fact that we get access to the technology for the mobile offerings and that will be critical for us, taking it across four screens,” Pelley said, referring to computers, TVs, smartphones and tablet computers.Bruno Delorme, who teaches sports marketing at McGill University, said business, television and sports are all appealing to “niche” audiences.“We live in a zapping society where you have over 100 channels on your basic cable package,” he said.“So people are zipping and zapping. There’s a market for niche, that’s why we have the Golf Channel. There’s channels for extreme sports and the Score is a niche obviously.”These are loyal audiences to offer to advertisers, Delorme added.The mobile apps that Rogers will acquire a stake in from Score Media will likely appeal to younger consumers, too, he said.“The sports marketers’ dream is that 18 to 35 year-old demographic,” he said.But the acquisition could also attract an even younger crowd who are “the consumers of the future,” Delorme said.Rogers expects the deal to close in early 2013.The Canadian Press read more