A: I am delighted to say that there is a lot happening and its exciting times within the industry at the moment. It seems that there is a daily M&A announcement over in the US, coupled with various subpoenas and sales of $1m NFTs, so we will be looking at what is happening over there and focus on the big investment deals and debate the winners and losers and expectations for 2022.
Sustainability / ESG continuing to dominate the discussion now more than ever so we will look to see how this is going to be more part of everyday focus for the industry as well as gain some insight from some outside industry players who have been there and done it.
We round off Day1 with an extension to what we did back in June. We are asking the audience to help shape the questioning to CEOs from the moderator. Looking to get up close and personal with them we hope that we will see some insightful questions asked and honest answers being returned.
In a more niche focus, we will take a look at the product and ask whether the NEXT Gen have an influence on new designs? Are video slots here to stay or will they slowly be dying a death and what influence do “influencers” have?
Marketing and Tech will also play its’ part on the agenda with focus on customer loyalty, affiliates, creating communities (making gambling play second fiddle) and of course cannot forget the Asian market as well. So, lots to fit in and discuss in a short space of time! I’m excited to bring on some key speakers as we as we look to disrupt the status quo!
Q: After a series of online events, Valletta 21 is one of the first in-person events. Do you approach the content aspect differently because it is now back to in-person?
A: You must essentially put yourself in the shoes of the attendees. So what would they be looking for? How would they like it being delivered? Who would they like to hear from? We are asking people to move away from the new “norm” (home), so the content and speakers have to be eye-catching to ensure that we attract people to Valletta.
Q: There are still COVID-19 restrictions in place in Malta and they seem to change all the time. It must be very difficult to plan an event like this well in advance?
A: It’s having one hand on the pulse and reacting to what we anticipate will the event layout / format in October. But events are about planning so we cater for every eventuality – what if restrictions are put in place; what if speakers cannot travel; what happens if we have to suddenly switch to online or combine and create a hybrid event?
I think it is a case of working together as a unit (sales, marketing, ops etc.) and making sure that we all know what is going on – and more importantly we keep our customers informed of what we know as they have planning to do as well. We have regular calls with the team and are part of the events group in Malta who talk to the Health Ministry, so we believe we are ready to react when necessary.
It’s just part of the Events Industry, isn’t it? We thrive on the unknown unknowns … we secretly love a challenge! But we will deliver what is best for our audience that is for sure.Q: iGaming NEXT is a very content-driven event where focus is on what happens NEXT. How do you keep up with the latest and future trends?
A: We are obviously proud of what we do and we love talking about the future. That is after all what people want to know isn’t it? For me it is constantly speaking to the network that I have built over the years’, reading the news, and various podcasts. It’s also about asking the questions – why this and why that – this gets people talking and you may even find new gems that you hadn’t considered yet or a new angle on something.
We are also very fortunate at iGaming NEXT to all be engaged in what is happening and all share these updates/disclosures/insights together so all falls into place. Finally, its collating all that information together and delivering content that makes people take note.
Q: How do you increase content consumption and visibility across your channels and business verticals?
A: We try to strike a fair balance between the content overload and lack of it. We constantly look at new ways we can deliver this to appeal to different audiences. Some like a read; others a listen; some like to watch so we vary it up in some ways to ensure that this is delivered across each of these. We have some interesting new content elements coming out in 2022 so again we are thinking how we can innovate this and disrupt the status quo!
It is also about the information that you are receiving and how “new” it is. We must pull people away from their laptops / zoom calls – much harder than before – and convince them to take some of their precious time out of their day to listen to us. A lot of our focus recently has been on delivering almost LIVE news and opinion pieces – like we did with three interviews regarding the FATF decision to add Malta to the grey list.
Finally, it is talking more with the industry and focusing on their pain points or nightmares that is keeping them up at night – if you are not careful you can get “tunnel-vision” and not be aware of what is going on around you so widening your knowledge constantly is key.
Q: How do you manage balancing creative topics while still keeping them interesting to the mainstream audience?
A: We need to make sure there is that balance, and it’s very hard. For me it is also down to the number of people on the panel; their knowledge; length of session and keeping it short and sharp. Key is also creating that Advisory Board to be able to sense-check or advise (excuse the pun) on where we need to go and whether we have been too narrow in our focus on certain topics. In my opinion, agendas are constantly changing – even until the doors open – as you want to be delivering the latest topical content.
I am imagining I will be taking some content out and adding more in between now and Valletta – but you know that is how the agendas should work – like our other content channels.
Q: Finally, what are you looking most forward to?
A: Having been part of the team setting it up it will be great to see it all come to fruition. And finally seeing colleagues and friends! We are a lively industry who have for the past 18 months been stowed away in a jack-in-a-box – slowly being wound up by a mischievous 4-year-old – and are ready to pop-out and P.A.R.T.Y!
It’s going to be great!