The founding director of ICS gives you the lowdown on the company
Can you give a broad overview of ICS?
I founded Independent Content Services Limited [ICS] in September 2002 with Cheryl Westerman and the company has gone from strength to strength ever since.
ICS is a multimedia, international content agency that operates mainly in the sports and iGaming sectors, but we are broadening our reach into other areas, too.
Over the past 16 years, ICS has worked with some of the biggest names in the betting industry, including the likes of Betfred, Betfair, William Hill, Ladbrokes, 1xBet and bet365.
During that time, we have built a global team of reporters and broadcasters who cover pretty much every sport across numerous channels and in almost any language.
We have also evolved into the best translation bureau in the sector, offering 68 languages across more than 80 territories.
In 2009 we formed ICS-digital LLP, a specialist digital marketing agency, with Matt Roche and Charlotte Green as partners. ICS-digital has grown to become one of the leading digital marketing agencies, again with a real focus on the iGaming sector, while also providing services to a variety of other verticals.
Can you tell us more about the services ICS provides?
Our services fall into five categories – content, audio, video, translation and digital. I’ll go through each in turn, starting with content.
We offer two different types of editorial; bespoke and generic. The former is tailored to each client and includes their odds and promotions. Being able to serve a high volume of topical, bespoke articles to a huge range of clients is what sets us apart from our rivals.
Skilfully incorporating operators’ markets and promotions into content makes copy far more effective when it comes to driving betting activity. Our generic content offers hundreds of daily stories including news blasts, match previews and reviews, player analysis and club-by-club coverage. By building an international team of expert correspondents and reporters, we can cover all sports and betting categories. Beyond sport, we also create content for eSports, poker, lottery, casino and many different lifestyle categories including entertainment and showbiz.
Moving on to audio. This is an area where we have unrivalled industry expertise and is our biggest revenue generator.
We exclusively supply the official commentary and presentation service for UK and Ireland horseracing. This is a very successful service as it is a continuum which covers race after race thus allowing punters to stay engaged with clients’ markets for longer. As soon as one race finishes, we are building up to the next. Many of the big sportsbook operators take this commentary service.
In addition, our studio football commentary service covers more than 600 matches per season from most of the major leagues. This includes all games played by Premier League teams and allows punters and fans to follow the matches they are interested in.
We currently deliver our football commentary in 16 languages.
ICS also produces live score radio for a leading African radio station, Cheltenham Radio for the Jockey Club and live greyhound and cricket commentary for many tier-one sportsbooks.
Our audio services also include daily bulletins on 50 football teams plus a breaking news service across a range of sports.
These audio services are not just limited to real-world sporting events – we now provide our commentary services to a growing number of virtual sports providers, too.
Video is an exciting growth area for ICS.
We provide several video services, including bespoke presentation, head-to-head correspondents, news blasts, live betting, match analysis and automated videos.
Our leading position has a lot to do with the speed at which we can turn things around – a quality we have across all of our content services.
For example, if a goal goes in or a news story breaks then we are able to supply our clients with a quick, engaging video reaction almost instantly.
We can provide dynamic automated videos that combine graphics with our audio.
In addition, we can cover a breaking news story while the news is trending with a compelling, branded video filmed to camera in our studio.
During last year’s World Cup we even streamed our local experts offering live trading advice as they were watching the games.
ICS has also emerged as the go-to translation bureau for the global online gambling industry thanks to our specialist betting translators.
Our international teams of native reporters have evolved to offer a truly unique and unrivalled translation and localisation service.
Done by humans and not machines, we properly and accurately translate complicated regulatory betting text into words and sentence structures that make sense in each language.
We now offer translation services across 68 languages.
ICS-digital provides digital marketing solutions that make a significant difference. The agency’s primary service revolves around Content Marketing (link building). We build link profiles from quality websites in order to improve search engine rankings for the keywords in question.
In addition, we offer a number of SEO services including technical website analysis, competitor and keyword research, full website audits and conversion-rate optimisation.
We also provide options for digital PR across a number of sectors.
ICS has already enjoyed incredible success, but what are your plans for the future?
A key focus is going to be on international expansion across the business.
As companies focus on their international plans, the demand for content, translation and marketing will only rise. To meet this demand, we are building our translation and localisation teams in markets around the world.
We’re also moving to a new, state-of-the-art office in Leeds city centre that has incredible studio facilities that will allow us to deliver even more exciting and cost-effective AV services.
Meanwhile, ICS-digital continues to recruit and diversify at an impressive rate. We have been doing a lot of work in new areas such as data analysis by crawling social media platforms to identify trends which will allow us to create both automated and human-generated content for a variety of sectors.
You were acquired by Racing Post in August, what does that mean for you?
It has been great as we are such a good fit. Our services are complementary to what Racing Post does and it means we can crack on and grow the business with support on hand when needed.
We enjoy working with our new colleagues who share a similar ethos and have the same international ambitions.
We plan to leverage the power of the Racing Post name to boost our own profile so that more prospective customers know about our extensive capabilities in sport and beyond.
What are your plans for ICE London?
ICE is always a great opportunity to catch up with existing clients and connect with new potential customers.
Members of our team will be on the Racing Post B2B stand for the duration of the conference to talk with delegates about our content, translation, marketing and other services.
ICE is so important to us and we all have busy diaries. It’s full on in the best possible sense, but we really enjoy it and the three days fly by.
Hopefully we will be able to do justice to our range of specialist services. As we offer so much, we sincerely believe we can be of assistance to most companies that will be at ExCeL London and invite any interested parties to meet us at the Racing Post stand.
Members can read the latest exclusive interviews, news analysis and comment available from 6pm daily on racingpost.com