It seems like only yesterday that News UK launched its own “digital betting and gaming platform”: “The launch is backed by a multi-million pound marketing campaign across print, digital, radio and TV. Ambassadors Ian Wright and Matt Chapman will promote the brand … The initiative is the latest addition to The Sun's stable of sport and entertainment products, which includes The Sun newspaper and website, Dream Team fantasy football game and Sun Bingo”, told Newsworks in Summer 2016.
Yes Becky, you'll have to get off your arse and work a little harder
And look who was on hand to promote it! “Rebekah Brooks, CEO of News UK said: ‘This is a hugely significant juncture for News UK and The Sun, marking the start of an era where new brands and revenue generating streams are being created on the back of the strength and much sought-after reach of The Sun. Sun Bets is set to be a game-changer in the online betting world and to those asking if it will be a success, the simple answer is YouBetcha.’” So how did Sun Bets fare after its launch?
Not so well, as Racing Post reported last year. “Heavy losses at Sun Bets pushed Australian giant Tabcorp into the red in 2016-17 as their start-up bookmaker, a joint venture with News UK, owner of the Sun newspaper, reported losses of A$47.6 million (approximately £29m) … Launched in August 2016, Sun Bets' operating loss dragged Tabcorp down to an overall loss of A$20.8m. The firm also wrote down the value of its Sun Bets assets by A$20.7m.” Oh dear! And what of Sun Bets this year?
It was bad news. “Sun Bets, the ailing bookmaker launched less than two years ago by the publisher of The Sun newspaper and Australian gambling giant Tabcorp, ceased trading on Thursday – although the brand may yet be resurrected … A message on the firm's website on Thursday told customers they should withdraw their funds immediately, although account holders were reassured by email that their funds were safe”.
Another Super Soaraway Currant Bun failure! So what did the Sun have to say about this latest little local difficulty? Well, nothing. Not a sausage. Zip. Zilch. Nil. Nix. Nada. Bugger all. And Sun Bets could only manage “Tabcorp UK Ltd has ceased providing gaming services on behalf of Sun Bets. Please withdraw any funds you may hold with us immediately. For more information, please view our FAQs”.
So “the start of an era where new brands and revenue generating streams are being created on the back of the strength and much sought-after reach of The Sun” turned out to be a false dawn. And the claim “Sun Bets is set to be a game-changer in the online betting world” was just Propagandist rubbish. The reality is that the Sun is in serious decline and Tabcorp’s experience will merely warn off future business partners.
Rebekah Brooks is going to have to try a lot harder if she wants to pull News UK out of the kind of terminal decline that would not survive after Rupert Murdoch either loses interest, or shuffles off. That means spending less time yakking to her pals from the comfort of her 13th floor eyrie, and applying herself to actually dealing with business.
Otherwise The News Building won’t be The News Building for long. That is all.