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'Traditional media is facing some pretty tough headwinds': Engine Media's Tom Rogers

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Tom Rogers, Executive Chairman of Engine Media, joined Yahoo Finance Live to break down his thoughts on traditional media and Engine Media's debut on the Nasdaq.

Video Transcript

ADAM SHAPIRO: Engine Media, the chairman Tom Rogers-- executive chairman-- joining us right now. Congratulations. And we should point out, Brian Sozzi is here as well. Tom, a lot of our viewers may not be familiar with the fact that you used to be with TiVo, as well as NBC. So you are that perfect merger of-- I'm going to use old media and new. But I got to ask you, what does Engine Media do?

TOM ROGERS: Well, thanks for having me. Well, Engine Media is a gaming company and a media solutions company. We have three gaming businesses, three businesses that focus on programmatic advertising, influencer marketing, data and analytics related to live streaming. So it is really where gaming meets mobile meets sports meets e-sports meets social interactions, so very much a new media company but one that also can provide important new sources of revenue to traditional media.

BRIAN SOZZI: And Tom, for investors trying to really understand your business, how does the reopening of the US, if not the world economy-- how will that impact your business?

TOM ROGERS: Well, e-sports has done very well during the pandemic, but it's clearly a growing-- fast-growing part of the gaming sector, which is already very fast growing. You have about 1 billion people on this planet that play video games, and the competitive nature of video games as a sport, or an e-sport, is only growing. So coming out of this, it should do very well.

We also know that the decline of traditional television, sports TV in particular, with satellite and cable fees, which really were the key tentpole of sports television, are declining. And so direct-to-consumer revenues that we can help generate as people play along live, watching traditional sports, predicting what's going to happen, which is very much part of our mobile gaming business, WinView, is something that we think also will grow as traditional media needs new sources of revenue. Of course, influencer marketing, programmatic advertising, the data and analytics related to digital live streaming-- since those parts of the media sector are growing so rapidly, those are areas of our business that we think will very much benefit coming out of the pandemic.

SEANA SMITH: And Tom, talking about that, you have multiple businesses, or across multiple sectors, it sounds like. I'm curious, from your perspective, who would you consider a competitor at this point?

TOM ROGERS: Well, we engage in some new forms of gaming, playing along in real time as you're watching a live sport event, playing along on a-- if you're an e-sports competitor, wanting to play a buddy for cash games. We have some very unique game publishing assets, particularly in the motorsports space, and we publish what is a hugely popular mobile racing game for-- in the Formula One area known as F1.

So we are a combination of assets, particularly when you put that together with our media solutions business. There's no clear competitor that you'd point to. Each of these businesses exist, obviously, where there are some other players, but we believe it's the combination of where gaming meets media solutions and how these businesses play off each other that really makes us a unique collection of assets.

BRIAN SOZZI: Tom, as a student of the media industry, do you think the age of the big media deal is over in the wake of what we saw between AT&T and where-- what it's doing with Discovery?

TOM ROGERS: No, I don't. I think all traditional media is facing some pretty tough headwinds, from declines in audience to cord-cutting to cord-nevers. And the combination of all that is really putting some huge pressure on traditional media. And you know, even as traditional media companies look to develop streaming businesses and other digital businesses to transform themselves, I think the downward pressures on them are only going to get bigger and bigger, and that's going to force greater consolidation. It's hard to know exactly who's going to pair with who. A year ago, nobody would have predicted Discovery and HBO Max are going to come under the same roof, but there will be more consolidation.

ADAM SHAPIRO: So Tom, help us understand, who are your clients? Would it potentially be a local TV station that wants to try and figure out how to generate revenue, or would it be a platform like, say, a Yahoo who wants to generate revenue?

TOM ROGERS: Well, we have clients today that range from Amazon Twitch and Facebook gaming and YouTube gaming to all the big major game publishers who look to our data and analytics for understanding their own businesses, including Activision and EA and Take-Two, Microsoft. We have major media company businesses that we help navigate the programmatic advertising world that range from Newsweek to a host of local TV and radio stations. We have a number of brand sponsors that look to us as they look to get more involved in e-sports that range from Chipotle to other major players, so a wide range of clients that we're involved with. And it's really a unique collection of assets that is all about understanding where younger demographics are going when it comes to gaming, understanding how to reach them through influencer marketing, and understanding the actual data and analytics of where they show up in live-streaming platforms and each of those businesses helping support each other, relative to their own growth.