There is constant talk amongst young people, and those trying to engage with young people, that content, especially user-generated content, in a mobile environment will be the future. Still, established platforms have had trouble trying to combine all that’s out there and keep it relevant and engaging for a wide audience.
Aimed at millennials with short-form content, the app is comprised of user-generated feeds on sports topics ranging from high school to the pros. Using Overtime’s slow motion video highlight tool, anyone can edit their own videos to create SportsCenter-like highlights of any play. Overtime provides a library of thousands of GIFs and photos over which you can embed comments. By giving users the ability to vote posts up or down, Overtime tries to take the importance away from follower count and social status.
Based in NYC, Overtime is funded by Greycroft Ventures, 645 Ventures, Fitz Gate Ventures, other leading VC firms and includes David Stern and NBA players among its investors. The company was co-founded with WME | IMG, and the team behind Overtime is responsible for mobile apps with hundreds of millions of downloads worldwide.
Is it working? We caught up with Zach Weiner, the co-founder of Overtime, to see how the business is going, and what the market really is. ,
How did the model for Overtime come about?
It was a combination of many factors but the thesis is generally that we saw a hole in the market in the high school sports space– we wanted to become the media company that high school kids actually had a great affinity and sense of ownership for, and part of that meant making sure that every athlete could have their story told. And because we needed scale that hasn’t been seen in the high school sports media space, we of course had to start with technology, which is why we are constantly creating tools inside and outside of our app to allow athletes to easier and more professionally create their own video content and highlights.
Who exactly is the audience and how have you gained scale?
The audience I would say is mostly characterized by age (15-25) and platform (mobile). When we set out to build our brand and audience, we knew that this is exactly the demographic we wanted to hit and that is notoriously hard to gain allegiance from. I think we’ve been able to gain scale for a few reasons, but probably chief amongst them is voice– we’re not afraid to push the boundaries (we’ve cursed in Instagram captions before) and we try to remain as authentic as possible to the kids whose stories we’re telling.
If you picked one thing to differentiate Overtime from others in the space, what would it be and why?
I’d say it’s the breadth of content that the platform and brand can support while maintaining focus. What I mean by that is that if you look at most sports media companies, they wouldn’t have capacity to provide videos on all high school athletes, and if you look at larger social platforms like Instagram, they do an incredible job supporting anyone and anything, but with Overtime there is of course more focus than that.
Where does the revenue come from now and in the future?
Revenue will come for us via brand integrations, whether that means in the app itself, our website, or on social. The content we have coming into the platform and the targeted distribution to high school students we have is powerful, and in our talks with brands so far there’s a big desire to be attached to that content in this setting, and there are a lot of creative things we can do with brands that other companies might not be able to do.
You have some high profile investors, how did they come about and how hands on are they?
Yeah, we have amazing investors. It’s tough to explain how they came about because each situation is really different, but I think in general the feedback we got was that this was a great market, we were attacking it in the right way through technology, and they wanted to invest in the people trying to solve the problems in the space. Our investors have been hands on in the sense that they have already helped open up a lot of doors and provided valuable insights, but not hands on in the sense that they ever distract as or take us away from what we need to be focused on. It’s really been a great relationship with each of them. And of course having David Stern on our side has been fantastic– I’ve already learned so much from him and it’s honestly just a cool feeling to see how excited he is about us.
The mobile and digital space, especially in sports, remains very fluid. How do you stay on top of all that is going on?
By reading Joe Favorito’s weekly newsletter of course! Haha. But seriously, being connected to the right people and reading the right things is 75% of if I would say. The other 25% is probably the harder part, and that’s taking what you’ve ingested and learned and seeing where you can zig where others are zagging.
There is so much talk of cord cutting and cord shaving; do you see a day where we will all have our own set of platforms we engage with, and is that a sustainable model?
The short answer is yes– I think we are already in a place where everyone has their own set of platforms that they engage with, and it will become sustainable because the content holders, the distribution companies, and the technology companies will work out the right model because, in a way, how could they not? The biggest commodity these days is attention. And while cord cutting shakes up the way the industry works, there is still a demand for content, and now there are just even more ways to view it.
You are also involved in a venture called The Sports Quotient. What is the audience for that and how did that come about?
The Sports Quotient was born out of my college dorm-room at Penn based off of the premise that there are so many college students out there that have something smart to say about what’s going in sports, but don’t have a platform to do it. At The Sports Quotient we specialize in analytical content about pro and college teams that has a youthful and engaging voice. Our slogan is “Raise your SQ” because we hope each reader learns something new every time they visit. I’d say our audience is just that– pretty intense sports fans that want to hear a different opinion supported with evidence– stats, video, shot charts etc.
What is the vision for where you want to see Overtime Sports be in a year or two?
We want to be the biggest media company in high school sports and make sure that every kid in the world knows that if they do something awesome on the court/field etc, they gotta put it on Overtime!