The Whistle Goes Live on Xbox 360
Seven months after launching the first sports-focused multi-channel network on YouTube, The Whistle is ready to take its talents to the Xbox.
The company has launched a free app on the console, armed with video content from its pro-sports partners as well as the YouTube creators signed to its network.
Xbox is the “next step” in having another platform to reach sports fans where they already are and are watching a lot of content, says John West, founder and CEO of The Whistle. He cites a statistic previously used by Microsoft and Xbox, which have claimed that Xbox Live users are watching more content than playing games on the platform.
While still building an audience on YouTube — the MCN recently eclipsed 1 billion views — it was important to have a destination on the Xbox. The app, which is available for free on all Xbox 360 devices (with plans for an Xbox One version in the works), was built with the assistance of MLB Advanced Media, a content and equity partner for The Whistle.
Overall, the app offers more than 500 sports videos for people to watch. Over time, West says the app will become more personalized as users flock to and spend time on it.
Structurally, The Whistle’s Xbox app is a reflection of the company. Users can sort content by sport as well as by the company’s pro-league partners like the NFL, MLB.com, MLS, the PGA Tour, Major League Lacrosse, and NASCAR, among others.
If users are more interested in The Whistle’s network of online video creators, a “Teammates” section pulls up videos from stars such as Dude Perfect and Brodie Smith. The Whistle’s network currently encompasses 135 channel partners reaching 6.7 million subscribers. At launch, the app has 15 of those partners onboarded, with more to come in the future.
The Whistle is cognizant of what this means for its existing YouTube channel partners, and any others that are considering signing up in the future. “When deciding to join a sports community like ours, being able to say, ‘Not only will I have access to millions of potential new subscribers [on YouTube], but I can also reach new fans on the Xbox,’ is really compelling to creators,” says West.
And it also serves as a good pitch for potential brand partners. “It also allows us to bring diversified audience engagement to brands that we are working with,” says West.
For instance, Subaru, which is on board as the launch sponsor for the app. In addition to a branded takeover of the app, the car company’s deal with The Whistle includes a brand-integration video with ultimate frisbee trick-shot artist Brodie Smith. The video will be featured prominently across the Xbox platform, The Whistle said, and will be available on YouTube tomorrow.
There are multiple ways The Whistle plans to get the word out about the app. Microsoft is helping by making it easier to discover the app on the platform (it will be at the top of the list of new releases, says West). The Whistle’s league partners will also promote the app to their younger fans, and the MCN’s creators will actively drive their fans to the platform. This is in addition to marketing and outreach The Whistle is planning internally.
Images provided by The WhistleTags: app, Brand Integration, Brodie Smith, connected TV, Dude Perfect, MCN, Microsoft, Sports, Subaru, The Whistle, Xbox 360, Xbox Live, xbox one