SBC News Simon Hovmand-Stilling: Better Collective holds no compromise to lead Brazil media market

Simon Hovmand-Stilling: Better Collective holds no compromise to lead Brazil media market

Last February, Better Collective, global gaming’s biggest media group completed its €176m acquisition of Playmaker Capital, diversifying its media portfolio once more to take leadership in South American markets.

Ahead of the inaugural SBC Summit Rio (5-7 March), Simon Hovmand-Stilling, CEO of Better Collective South America details no compromise in the strategy to take Brazil’s top spot, building its most dynamic media platform to cater to Brazilian audiences’ localised needs.   

SBC:  Thanks, Simon, for this interview… Better Collective are widely recognised as igaming’s leading media publisher. Can you detail its approach to Brazil’s sports betting ongoing developments?

Simon Hovmand-Stilling: With 20 years in the iGaming industry, we have now broadened our focus now covering the wider sports media spectrum, while still having a strong focus on delivering value to our sportsbook partners. Brazil is a strategic focus market for our vision to become the leading sports media group. We have had a connection with Brazil for some years through media partnerships, with which we’ve been achieving excellent results in this market.

Now, we have further strengthened our position and expanded our presence in the country with acquisitions of strong and well-established brands which will allow us to create even stronger value for our partners and contribute to the local market development. Better Collective is also a member of the Brazilian Institute of Responsible Gaming, aiming to support the country’s sustainable and responsible development of the iGaming market. 

SBC: You have been charged with establishing, Better Collective’s Brazilian platform. How optimistic are you that Brazil will be Better Collective’s next major growth market?

SHS:  Better Collective already has over 20 offices worldwide, and in 2023 I got the responsibility of establishing a local organization in South America. Today we have offices in Brazil in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

With the recent acquisition of Playmaker Capital, we have significantly strengthened our position in South America more broadly with offices across the region and more than 500 people working with us. We are very excited and optimistic about the opportunities in the market not only because of the tremendous growth potential in the sports media segment but also because it is a market with many sports enthusiasts who already have a strong tradition of consuming sports content. 

SBC: Having been transferred to Rio de Janeiro. What do you believe it’s the ‘cultural challenge’ of creating a localised betting/iGaming media property for Brazilian audiences?

SHS:   As one of the main market targets for our expansion strategy, Brazil has a high potential for rapid market growth, due to its sports-loving audience, and also the tradition of consuming sports content. It is a large country with continental dimensions, marked by diverse cultures and varying economic and social levels. Nonetheless, the passion for sports is a common thread among the population.

The important task lies in understanding each local market, its peculiarities, and, equally important, having local talents to execute the strategy and create content that caters to the local sports audiences. This has been the “winning formula” for Better Collective throughout the years when we have expanded our position across Europe and North America.

SBC: 2024 saw Better Collective acquire Playmaker Capital, in a strategic move to advance its South American profile. How will Playmaker assets embolden Better Collective’s go-to-market strategy for Brazil?

SHS:  The Playmaker Capital acquisition is the second-largest to date for Better Collective. It positions Better Collective as the leading digital sports media group in South America, now boasting an audience of more than 400 million monthly visits globally, of which 210 million come from the South American continent.

This milestone solidifies our top position in the region’s audience ranking and aligns with our strategy to own and operate leading national sports media with a large and loyal audience  In South America, we pursue the same goals as in any other market; to own the go-to brands that fans turn to when looking for sports content – and to provide strong value to our advertising partners.

SBC: From your early observations, what are the keys disciplines to developing a comprehensive media portfolio for Brazilian audiences? (SEO, influencers, social media)

SHS: Better Collective holds a broad portfolio of digital sports media brands covering a wide range of sports, from popular leagues like the Premier League and the NFL to specific events. In Brazil, there is a special focus on local football teams and competitions.

Across our media brands, we publish content in various formats, including sports news, videos, podcasts, data insights, betting information, and more. To be the leader you need to be able to develop high-quality content and formats that the audience wants to digest and in Brazil and South America more broadly, we have a strong focus on producing digestible content pieces for social media.

SBC: The Ministry of Finance has stated that 140 businesses have showcased their interest in acquiring a sportsbook licences. Is this a positive-or-negative development, and can too many sportsbook spoil a market at its initial stage?

SHS:   The advanced stage of the regulation of online sports betting regulation in Brazil represents a significant milestone for the market’s sustainable growth and the protection of players. A large number of sportsbooks showcasing interest in operating in the market is a testament to the vast potential for growth of the iGamimg segment in the country. In a regulated market high competition benefits the players and also brings more business opportunities to the industry.  

SBC: From a commercial perspective, will Better Collective favour CPA or revshare for the development of its Brazilian media portfolio?

SHS:  As a digital sports media group we operate a diversified business model spanning strategic partnerships, subscriptions, advertising as well as sponsorship deals and affiliation.

Generally speaking for the affiliation model, we have and are investing in transitioning our contracts, e.g. in the US, from CPA to revenue share as it establishes a closer partnership with the advertising partner and adds strong value long-term.

SBC: With Brazil’s market yet to be formally launched do you have any further observations to share with SBC audiences? 

SHS:  Better Collective is a proud member of the Brazilian Institute of Responsible Gaming, dedicated to fostering the sustainable development of the iGaming market in the country. We are truly excited about the future of the Brazilian market and the opportunities that lie within it.

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