Adapting to the current market climate and learning new ways to connect with our industry peers has been a continual challenge for us all. The sudden lack of face-to-face interactions has created space in our industry for innovation, creating new channels for us to communicate as an industry.
Pierre Lindh, Co-Founder of leading media platform iGaming NEXT shared some of his thoughts with us, giving his perspective on the future of networking and content consumption in our industry.
As a leading media platform in the market, how is the way audiences are consuming content changing? What trends in content consumption do you anticipate for the future?
“The future is video… or rather, the present is already video. All trends are pointing this direction and that is why we have decided to be video first in the media that we produce through iGaming NEXT.
That is not to say, however, that just because you produce video content it’s automatically a success. Quite the opposite. 99% of the video content that is being produced is not engaging, in my opinion.
Creating truly engaging video content is a complicated concept, and it boils down to several factors. After the pandemic robbed us of our in-person events, 2020 really gave us the perfect opportunity to experiment and find new ways to create and distribute content.
That’s why I think that disruptive events like the pandemic can be good for innovative businesses because it forces you out of the daily hamster wheel by having to re-think your entire business.
A truly innovative business will always shine in those moments. In our case, solidifying ourselves as the leaders of industry thought-leadership video content creation and distribution became our pivot.”
With no live events, how can we recreate authentic network building spaces virtually? Is this completely possible?
“This is the million-dollar question. It starts with having to face the fact that you need to beat the multi-billion-dollar professional networking platform, LinkedIn, at their own game.
It would be a bit naïve to think it’s possible to compete with LinkedIn, and the attempts I have seen so far with virtual events platforms that focus on networking have just been a novelty that people try once and not again.
So instead, we have focused on connecting our audiences through engaging content; where they have the chance to communicate directly with speakers and each other live at our digital events.
This really is the future of media. It’s a great way to get your voice heard as it creates a really cool community feeling. But as far as digital networking goes, I think trying to go head-to-head with an already established platform like LinkedIn isn’t ideal and should be reserved to in-person events.”
iGaming NEXT is all about looking at ways to push the industry forward, do you think this forward-thinking mentality is reflected equally throughout the iGaming market? What can we do as an industry to encourage further progression and innovation?
“There’s been a massive progression in the industry since I first joined during the poker boom in the early 00’s. Back then, there wasn’t much talk about innovation, or player protection and operations were very rudimentary. I guess this is natural for any young industry. But nowadays the industry is maturing at a rapid pace.
To be honest, I think the introduction of the Swedish regulation was a wake-up call for the entire industry which accelerated innovation towards a more mature and reasonable approach by the major operators.
Nowadays you hear words like “entertainment” and “player protection” in nearly every interview, and you hear CEO’s of major gambling operations talking about how the top priority is to protect the vulnerable players, which in turn secures our future as an industry. It’s showing long-term thinking that we never had just a few short years ago.
But what about the game suppliers and affiliates who aren’t as strictly regulated as the operators? They of course also have a role to play here.
The game suppliers, for example, are asking themselves the question on how we can compete for the leisure time of our customers with the likes of Xbox and Netflix, which is allowing them to think outside our iGaming bubble.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings famously said, “Our biggest competitor is sleep”. This is the type of mindset which will spur radical innovation, rather than incremental innovation, and I think the industry is just starting to wake up to this way of thinking.”
What are you most looking forward to next year? What’s next for iGaming NEXT?
“2020 was obviously a disruptive year for our organization, but because of it, we set ourselves up for a defining year in 2021.
We are now ready to start to invest and build on the success we had on our digital media projects of 2020 with our new shareholders Robin Red, Tim Heath & Lahcene Merzoug, while substantially scaling up our flagship event ‘iGaming NEXT: Valletta’. This is taking place at MCC, Valletta on the 20-21st October for 2000 of the iGaming industry’s who’s who, as well as global investors and influencers from outside of the iGaming industry.
We hope that this event will signify a new era of next-generation events for the iGaming industry.
Our ambition isn’t simply to do a good event, our ambition is to set a new precedent for how events should be organized. We want to leave every single delegate feeling that it was the most value accretive iGaming industry event they have ever attended.
Personally, I am also looking forward to continuing a passion project of mine, the iGaming NEXT Podcast, with new guests every week. I learnt so much from the 40 or so episodes that I’ve done so far with industry leaders. An exciting year ahead indeed!”
Editor’s note: It’s encouraging to hear about all of the new, innovative ideas that are coming to market as a result of such a difficult time for everyone. iGaming NEXT is a fantastic example of how we, as an industry, can adapt to the new market conditions and continue to grow responsibly.