May 16, 2020
The company with Messi, Neymar, Beckham and Zidane on its books had to ditch its subscription model and become a studio
Why football superstar social network Otro had to pivot to films
You don’t need to tell Claire McArdle how quickly sports media are changing. When she joined Otro in 2018 it was in the role of chief content officer, working at a social network with a very exclusive membership. Leo Messi, Neymar, Paulo Dybala, Dele Alli, David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane; it seemed as if every big name in world Football had signed up to Otro. The stars were to share exclusive insights into their lives on a regular basis and all you had to do to see it was pay $3.99 (£3.30) a month.
Two years later, however, and you can keep your wallet in your pocket. “Between the conception of the idea and coming on to market, the industry moved on at quite a considerable pace,” is how McArdle puts it. Now Otro’s managing director is responsible for what you might call a pivot in the business. The subscription model has been ditched and Otro has become a studio, working to tell stories in conjunction with broadcasters and digital platforms, albeit still with the same big names. “We were going into market with a niche service, and that market had changed,” she says. “What we had to look at quickly was ... what was the best way to deliver what we intended to deliver from the start?”
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