A watercooler moment with Ted Endo, head of publishing at EpicTV, the online action and adventure sports channel
In a nutshell, what does EpicTV do?
EpicTV is an online action and adventure sports channel that broadcasts high-quality content to an audience of 14 million viewers every month. We work in four core sports – mountain biking, climbing, skiing and snowboarding – while also maintaining a presence in surfing, BMXing, BASE jumping, skating, parkour and various others.
Where did the idea for EpivTV come from?
Our CEO, Panu Lehti, originally felt that there was a lot of content being shot in the action and adventure sports world that didn’t have a home. If we could give it a home online then the website would have a captive audience of outdoor sport enthusiasts – a group of 18- to 40-year-olds that represents a strong and rapidly expanding consumer group that brands across many sectors are looking to tap into.
When did you start up?
How has it gone so far?
It has gone very well. EpicTV is currently the largest publisher of exclusive adventure sports videos in the world. Our content reaches millions of people every month through our own platform, Facebook, Instagram, our partner distribution network and traditional TV broadcasters. We’re now at the next step. This winter has seen us sign ski and snowboard teams to represent our brand and to provide us with exclusive content, featuring the gear sold in the EpicTV Shop.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
Our business model incorporates traditional advertising with banners, pre roll and the standard things that you’ll see from any online video channel. The core of our business model is an integrated content marketing platform. This means that we sell much of the gear that our athletes use in their video. Not only that, we sell much of the camera equipment and drones that the filmmakers of these videos use to capture their images. Integrating the shopping and video experiences is an ongoing process that is both very challenging and very rewarding.
How would you say you differentiate yourself from the competition?
The EpicTV Shop is an important part of our strategy and a clear way of showing that we can differentiate between our competitors and us. Products that are seen in EpicTV videos are then stocked in the shop, driving consumers to purchase them through us. When consumers see gear used on the EpicTV channel, it’s then highlighted in the video as the clip is shared across media and social media. 9 out of 10 of our audience takes part in these sports themselves, so for them the videos become aspirational as well as inspirational. We’re giving them the knowledge and gear they need. This multifaceted approach really is a new way of controlling the entire consumer chain with a brand partner.
What has been the best decision you have made to-date?
We saw the potential in the drone market early and the EpicTV shop has since developed one of the leading inventories of mass market and specialist drones in the world.
Where do you see the business in 12 months’ time?
Now that the EpicTV Shop has launched, we’re continuing that move away from being an online channel, a media house into a 360° hub for our core sports. It’s about bringing our videos and the shop alongside the interactivity that you get on portals like Reddit. In a year’s time an EpicTV viewer will come to our site to look at photo galleries, post his or her own shots from the weekend, comment on videos and get gear tips in our forums from other users and pros, all while stopping by the shop to get the latest must-have piece of sport tech.
If you had one piece of advice for entrepreneurs, what would it be?
It sounds glib but at EpicTV we are devoted to the concept of testing new ideas and features, measuring the audience’s response through analytics, then tweaking, refining and testing again. You can’t be afraid to try and fail – as long as you are learning and refining, you are going in the right direction.