Barstool Latest digital media company trying to break through IRL –


Erika Nardini explained at the recent launch of Barstool Sports that the “Barstool Everywhere” mantra is to take “as much market share as possible, whether it’s on the Internet or in your grocery store”. But the CEO of the company was not exaggerating to insist. One Bite frozen pizza goes on sale today in more than 3,500 Walmart stores nationwide (and the Barstool store). “Four years ago, we turned the One Bite Instagram pizza review series into an app. [Now], we turn it into something you can find in [stores] across the country, ”she said. Barstool’s Frozen Pizza Adventure is the latest example of a digital media company trying to break into IRL – “in real life,” a term used in video game circles to refer to social interactions. in the physical world.

Our opinion : The trend for digital media companies to appear in real life (see: Overtime Elite training by Overtime) has set in as more and more of them strive to “fit into the lives of others.” their audiences as traditional consumer brands, ”Michael Neuman (Founder, Scout Sports & Entertainment) said. He explained that the change in philosophy is the result of changing market conditions. ” Everything is a question of choice. As the media becomes even more fragmented, but niche, there are many options for consumers to organize a wide range of sports programming. Like CPGs (consumer goods), brands of products and services, the same marketing logic applies [here]- relevance, conversation and mystery prevail.

The need to diversify revenue sources also appears to be a catalyst for mobile media companies. Keep in mind that with social platforms that put less emphasis on branded content, many advertising-focused businesses are less lucrative than they used to be.

Barstool isn’t the first media company to try to become more of a mainstream consumer brand. Many have tried; most failed (remember the ESPN area). But they’re a little different in that few have tried to break into the CPG category.

Barstool Sports’ relatively meager payroll and varied revenue streams have allowed the company to use the pandemic as a time to “kick off new formats, explore new distribution and take more risks,” Nardini said. Among the risks cited was the company’s latest attempt to extend the “Barstool Everywhere” concept beyond the digital realm and into real life.

While a place in the frozen food aisle matches the ‘everywhere’ narrative, the company views One Bite as a revenue opportunity. As Nardini said, pizza (frozen and fresh) is a “massive category.” In 2020, it was a $ 20 billion industry. The CEO is convinced that there is an opportunity for Barstool to take a piece of this pie, based on the loyalty of Barstool fans to the brand and founder Dave Portnoy.

But the switch to frozen pizza is by no means a certainty. The category is difficult. It is very competitive (both among market players and for storage space) and the margins are slim.

The frozen pizza category is very concentrated and DiGiorno is currently the big fish. But with a loyal following and a plethora of distribution platforms, Neuman said he can envision the digital media company taking a share of the market. “The calculations add up,” he said. “Barstool has a whole media empire behind it, with ancillary programming and influencers with many social media followers. “

While it might sound silly, the One Bite franchise has become synonymous with quality pizza. My two local hangouts both tout Portnoy’s ratings outside of their respective establishments (a is a 8.9, the other is an 8.8). Thus, the company should be able to convince people to buy One Bite frozen pizza once. The question is whether the quality of the product will be good enough for them to buy it again.

Happi Foodi, a New Jersey-based company, will be responsible for manufacturing the product to Barstool’s specifications, and Nardini said the Barstool team “worked on the recipe.” The company lined up One Bite samples alongside slices from some of New York City’s best pizza establishments when they were recently launched. For the record, Portnoy would have given the pizza a score of 10 (we remain skeptical that frozen pizza can get a perfect score).

One Bite is not Barstool’s first foray into the consumables business. The company introduced Pink Whitney Vodka (in collaboration with New Amsterdam Vodka) two years ago after an advertisement read on the Spittin Chiclets podcast turned a mix of vodka and pink lemonade into a viral sensation.

The company has also been found to be effective in marketing High Noon spiked seltzer water to its public. “We saw what we can do with High Noon,” Nardini said. “When we were motivated by royalties and not just advertising engagement, we brought this product into the stratosphere. “

(This story has been updated to clarify that pizza, and not just frozen pizza, was a $ 20 billion industry in 2020, and to correct Happi Foodi’s name.)


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