G3 sits with Vermantia CEO, George Fotopoulos on upcoming targets and Vermantia’s new content management solution, Vision 3.0 that is already live in Italy with Eurobet.
- Vermantia had a very productive 2023 with 3 awards and multiple new partnerships, summing up this success how does 2024 look?
This year we have indeed been busy. With our strategic partnerships taking the lead, all in the process of perfecting our services and reaching as many end customers as possible while maintaining our position as a key player in content distribution technologies for the retail gaming industry. Starting with the release of a new Horse Racing Tote channel with ARC early in 2023, the relaunching of our products in the Bulgarian retail market, partnering with Alternar, a global sportsbook leader in creating a one-of-a-kind online racing experience. To teaming up with Edgio in delivering custom built live streaming events across EMEA.
I was very pleased to see all our hard work be translated into three back-to-back awards this year by EGR, SBC and EGR Italy. This comes to show that by maintaining the high level of our services and always looking into expanding our know-how gets recognized and awarded. Thus starting 2024 we are holding our standards high, looking into expanding our portfolio and engaging new customers with our services.
- In January, Arena Racing Company and Racecourse Media Group commenced a partnership for British and Irish racecourse content to be promoted and commercialised in a range of international tote (pari-mutuel) markets as a single service. As ARC’s production business, what is Vermantia’s role in servicing this agreement?
Through the full merger with ARC, there are numerous product synergies between the two companies as we are moving forward, with plans to form a powerful business that unlocks multiple new projects and a brand-new approach to media rights and broadcasting as well as expand in the UK.
One of them is the RMG partnership. Vermantia’s retail solutions respond perfectly to this; blending the latest in technology to increase engagement, and customer experience with cost and operational efficiencies. As of January 2024, all of RMG’s content is now incorporated into ARC/ Vermantia channels. Vermantia is fully equipped to support and provide broadcast services for both tote and fixed odds channels creating an international platform to distribute and promote racing globally.
- What are the ramifications of the agreement for aligning the rights of RMG and ARC, and for marketing and promoting British and Irish racing to international audiences?
This groundbreaking five-year partnership means that content from British and Irish racecourses will be promoted and commercialised in a range of international tote markets as a single service and fixed-odds for the British racecourses only. The new tote service will come under the banner of GBI Racing (Great British & Irish racing). The aligning of the rights of RMG (34 British racecourse shareholders, including Jockey Club racecourses, and York and Goodwood) and ARC (16 British racecourses), plus other independent racecourses, such as Ascot, Chester and Newbury will create new efficiencies and synergies, which will maximise returns to the sport.
It also enables British and Irish racing to be effectively marketed and promoted to international audiences. British racing, and Irish racing via the tote service, will be sold and promoted as one package. This drives further value for the racecourses and provides a better product for customers globally.
- Is this agreement symptomatic of how Arena Racing Company has utilised Vermantia’s technology and expertise to unlock new projects since the acquisition? More specifically with regards to a new approach to media rights and broadcasting?
We have been creating diversified content for over a decade, enabling us to perfect the skill and deliver channels that stand out not only for their product but for their appearance as well. Thanks to our technology, we can ensure that operators can create the right product mix on a per-shop level, being ready for their customers’ expectations and adapting rapidly to any changes. Focused on the needs of operators in retail for digitalisation and personalisation in a fast, efficient, and simple way.
The acquisition has allowed for even closer integration of Vermantia’s cutting-edge distribution technology with ARC’s content distribution objectives. Fully joining forces with ARC is a recognition of the power of Vermantia’s solutions and its commitment to delivering advanced technologies to the entire gaming industry.
Regarding the brand-new approach to media rights and broadcasting, the collaboration between Vermantia and ARC enables an end-to-end offering. This means that the entire chain, from the racecourses to the betting shops, is created and managed by the same group in a seamless and efficient way that gives a frictionless service for the operators and a spectacular viewing experience to the end users. This unified approach ensures a focus on delivering the highest quality and exceptional customer experience throughout the entire process.
- How has Vermantia’s Horse Racing Tote Channel, launched ahead of last year’s ICE London, performed since launch? Has it lived up to expectations, and how has Vermantia improved and iterated upon the channel since launch?
The Horse Racing Tote Channel launched with Vermantia’s Automated Production is an advanced service that drives all complex actions and rules in a fully automated way. Being the first of its kind, it powers and produces the GBI channel. The system blends rich racing and live tote betting information, displayed in custom-designed graphics, with an official live racing commentator and in-studio presenter for tips and analysis, creating the optimum experience for the viewers. Not only it has lived up to expectations but has grown significantly, making it one of our flagship products for 2024.
The “ARC Media International” (AMI) service, our Horse Racing tote betting channel, thanks to the RMG partnership has now been evolved into GBI channel. This includes a rich daily schedule of premium horse races, both flat and National Hunt, broadcast live from all UK and Irish racecourses. In total, the schedule comprises of more than 1850 fixtures across the year, from racecourses as Ascot, Epsom Downs, Cheltenham, Newcastle, Aintree, Curragh and Doncaster.
- What will Vermantia be exhibiting at this year’s ICE?
This is the first year Vermantia will be exhibiting at ICE since COVID, and we have a lot to say. Besides catching up with clients and peers we will showcase our updated and new services. Delivering a digitised betting experience, especially when it comes to mobile in-store, is a great way of targeting customers both old and new. From bespoke betting channels bundled with action-packed live racing content or any other content operator wish to the next generation of distribution technology, whether that be streaming or broadcasting, operators will be able to attract a far broader range of customers to their shops than ever before.
- What other product plans are in the works for 2024?
Besides our never ending strive for perfecting our current products, we are launching Vision 3.0 our Content Management Solution officially in 2024. It is far more than a standard CMS, as Vision 3.0 includes all our technological expertise in one package. It consists of developing a custom widget, including content positioning of each screen area (provided dynamic HTML, video streaming, odds, news etc.); dynamic feed based on API /XML /HTML, to display the odds for currently displayed match; local administration to select the matches to promote.
It supports the Digital Signage customized software for User /Permissions, Screen Templates Designer, Media Manager, Content Scheduling, Rich Media playback, Hardware & Software Monitoring, Remote management, Local management Interface, Live Widget to manage dynamic content locally, RF Matrix Widget to manage the satellite head-end device locally etc.
Combining our knowledge of multiple retail operator technologies into a pioneer solution giving complete control over shop display. This product is already up and running as part of Eurobet’s fleet of retail shops, but more on that soon…
- Market-wise, how is Vermantia exploring the untapped potential of emerging markets such as Latin America and Africa, as well as consolidating in Central and Southern Europe?
When it comes to expansion, we are going to emerge very strongly in Central and South Europe. There is a lot of action going on with operators in these markets, including our home market Greece, where we are looking to leverage our market-leading position. Within the next year you can expect to see a lot coming from emerging LatAm markets as well as from the UK.
We are always looking into expanding our markets whether is making our existing presence stronger or entering dynamically a new market, with our product portfolio stronger than ever this gives us the confidence to reach high and achieve our market goals.
Source: G3 Magazine February 2024 Issue