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Nissan sticks to Champs League

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Nissan has confirmed a three-year extension to its global partnership with the UEFA Champions League, including the UEFA Super Cup.

Legendary footballer Gareth Bale celebrated the announcement by surprising a group of schoolchildren in Spain and teaching them how to recreate his iconic winning goal from the 2014 final against Club Atlético de Madrid.

The agreement comes ahead of the first game of the 2017/2018 UEFA Champions League season and will see the Japanese manufacturer stay as an official partner up to and including the 2020/2021 season. The UEFA Champions League continues to be Nissan’s largest investment in sports sponsorship, which began at the start of the 2014/2015 season.

The UEFA Champions League continues to be the most watched annual sporting competition on the planet, with a cumulative television audience of more than 4-billion a season. The 2017 UEFA Champions League Final attracted a global audience of more than 160-million, more than any other annual sporting event, and it saw Real Madrid C.F. beat Juventus F.C. to record their 12th UEFA Champions League title.

“Innovation that excites is at the core of everything Nissan does and our partnership with the most exciting sports tournament on the planet over the last three years has been key to that,” said Roel de Vries, corporate vice president, global head of marketing for Nissan. “We’re delighted to be extending this partnership for another three seasons, and it will continue to be at the very heart of our global marketing strategy. We’ve seen huge success from the partnership and the additional engagement it has allowed us to have with consumers.”

“Football is the perfect arena to show Nissan’s commitment to performance, not just globally, but here in South Africa too. We’re a sports crazy nation and South Africans are very passionate about football. The UEFA partnership extension will certainly give us the opportunity to speak to fans of the sport and to communicate how intelligent our vehicles are,” said Kabelo Rabotho, Director: Marketing for Nissan South Africa.

Locally, Nissan SA has respected cricketing heroes, Shaun Pollock and Kagiso Rabada, as brand ambassadors, who form part of Nissan’s global partnership with ICC World Cricket. Nissan SA also partnered with Kaya FM for “Kagiso’s Coaching Clinic”, which will see one lucky school in the country benefiting from a coaching session with Rabada.

As part of the new UEFA deal, Nissan will continue to have extensive rights at UEFA Champions League matches as well as access to other exclusive rights, such as the pre-match Center Circle Carriers and post-match UEFA Champions League Goal of the Week, presented by Nissan digital activation.

Commenting on the agreement, Guy-Laurent Epstein, UEFA Events SA Marketing Director, said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Nissan after a very successful first cycle. They have become an integral member of the sponsor family and have been invaluable for the promotion of the competition on a global level. The UEFA Champions League brand appeal is growing from strength to strength every single year and its platform continues to provide top brands like Nissan the opportunity to connect and engage with football fans around the globe.”

“Our partnership with the UEFA Champions League has been instrumental in our mission to become the most desirable Asian brand in Europe,” said Jean-Pierre Diernaz, vice president, marketing, Nissan Europe. “In the coming years, we have an ambitious product plan supported with breakthrough technologies, having the world’s most exciting sporting event as a partner is giving us the perfect platform to emotionally engage with our audience and drive brand preference. I am excited to see how innovative we will be together with UEFA in creating excitement for the fans.”

The UEFA Champions League is another example of Nissan’s dedication to inspiring sports fans, which also includes the International Cricket Council, the City Football Group, the Canadian Football League, the Heisman Trust and the Heisman Trophy.

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Gadget goes to Hollywood

Gadget visited the Netflix studios last week. In the first of a series, ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK talks to CEO Reed Hastings.

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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is no stranger to Africa. He has travelled throughout South Africa, taught maths in Swaziland for two years with the Peace Corps, and visits close family in Maputo. As a result, he is keenly aware of the South African entertainment and connectivity landscape.

In an exclusive interview at the Netflix studios in Hollywood, Los Angeles, last week, he revealed that Netflix had no intentions of challenging MultiChoice’s dominance of live sports broadcasting on the continent.

“Other firms will do sport and news; we are trying to focus on movies and TV shows,” he said. “There are a lot of areas that are video that we are not doing: sports, news, video gaming, user-generated content. We don’t have live sport.

Reed Hastings at the Netflix studios in Hollywood last week. Pic: ADAM ROSE

“We’re not replacing MultiChoice at all. Their subscriber growth is steady in South Africa. They serve a need that’s independent of the Internet, via low-price satellite. There is no intention of capturing that audience. If they’re growing, it’s because they serve a need.”

While Reed ruled out any collaboration with MultiChoice on its satellite delivery platform, despite its collaboration with another pay-TV service, Sky TV in the United Kingdom, he did not close the door. He stressed that Netflix saw itself as an Internet-based service, and would pursue the opportunities offered by evolving broadband in Africa.

“If you look in other markets like the USA, how Comcast carries us on set-top boxes with their other services, it could happen with MultiChoice, the same as with all the pay-TV providers.

“We’re really focused on being a service over the Internet and not over satellite. Our service doesn’t work on satellite. Where we work with Sky is on Internet-connected devices. We’re happy to work on Internet-connected devices. We tend to work on smart TVs, but need broadband Internet for that.

“Broadband is getting faster in Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa – we can see the positive trendlines – so it’s more likely we will work with broadband Internet companies.”

Hastings is a firm believer in the idea that one content provider’s success does not depend on pushing another down.

“HBO has grown at the same time as we have, so can see our success doesn’t determine their success. What matters is amazing content with which the world falls in love.”

Click here to read about Netflix’s international expansion, and how the streaming service selects content for its platform.

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Take these 5 steps to digital

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By MARK WALKER, Associate Vice President for Sub-Saharan Africa at IDC Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

Digital transformation isn’t a buzz word because it sounds nice and looks good on the business CV. It is fundamental to long-term business success. IDC anticipates that 75% of enterprises will be on the path to digital transformation by 2027. 

However, digital transformation is not a process that ticks a box and moves to the next item on the agenda – it is defined by the organisation’s shift towards a digitally empowered infrastructure and employee. It is an evolution across system, infrastructure, process, individual and leadership and should follow clear pathways to ensure sustainable success.

The nature of the enterprise has changed completely with the influence of digital, cloud and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), and success is reliant on strategic change.

There is a lot more ownership and transparency throughout the organisation and there is a responsibility that comes with that – employees want access to information, there has to be speed in knowledge, transactions and engagement,” he adds. “To ensure that the organisation evolves alongside digital and demand, it has to follow five very clear pathways to long-term, achievable success.

The first of these is to evaluate where the enterprise sits right now in terms of its digital journey. This will differ by organisation size and industry, as well as its reliance on technology. A smaller organisation that only needs a basic accounting function or the internet for email will have far different considerations to a small organisation that requires high-end technology to manage hedge funds or drive cloud solutions. The same comparisons apply to the enterprise-level organisation. The mining sector will have a completely different sub-set of technology requirements and infrastructure limitations to the retail or finance sectors.

Ultimately, every organisation, regardless of size or industry, is reliant on technology to grow or deliver customer service, but their digital transformation requirements are different. To ensure that investment into artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, knowledge engines, automation and connectivity are accurately placed within the business and know exactly where the business is going.

The second step is to examine what the business wants to achieve. Again, the goals of the organisation over the long and short term will be entirely sector dependent, but it is essential that it examine what the competitive environment looks like and what influences customer expectations. This understanding will allow for the business to hone its digital requirements accordingly.

The third step is to match expectations to reality. You need to see how you can move your digital transformation strategy forward and what areas require prioritisation, what funding models will support your digital aspirations, and how this tie into what the market wants. Ultimately, every step of the process has to be prioritised to ensure it maps back to where you are and the strategic steps that will take you to where you want to go.

The fourth step is to look at the operational side of the process. This is as critical as any other aspect of the transformation strategy as it maps budget to skills to infrastructure in such a way as to ensure that any project delivers return on investment. Budget and funding are always top of mind when it comes to digital transformation – these are understandably key issues for the business. How will it benefit from the investment? How will it influence the customer experience? What impact will this have on the ongoing bottom line? These questions tie neatly into the fifth step in the process – the feedback loop.

This is often the forgotten step, but it is the most important. The feedback loop is critical to ensuring that the digital transformation process is achieving the right results, that the right metrics are in place, and that the needle is moving in the right direction. It is within this feedback loop that the organisation can consistently refine the process to ensure that it moves to each successive step with the right metrics in place.

There is also one final element that every organisation should have in place throughout its digital evolution. An element that many overlook – engagement. There must be a real desire to change, from the top of the organisation right down to the bottom, and an understanding of what it means to undertake this change and why it is essential. This is why this will be a key discussion at the 2019 IDC South Africa CIO Summit taking place in April this year. With this in place, the five steps to digital transformation will make sense and deliver the right results.

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