Q&A with Sanjit Atwal CEO & Co-Founder of Squawka

Sanjit Atwal discusses the potential of the second screen

When I first heard about second screen companion app Squawka I could barely contain my excitement. 

As a football (ahem soccer) enthusiast I’ve always been keen on the stat side of the game and Squawka looks set to be a stat monkey’s dream. 

I sat down with the CEO & co-founder to discuss the product as well as the monetization prospects for the company. 

What is Sqawka and what is it’s model – both for users and from a monetisation POV?

Squawka is a second screen web application for football.  Tell Squawka which live game you are watching on TV and you will be given access to real time stats on the every player on the pitch alongside social interaction with other fans. We aim to enhance a fans viewing experience with intelligence that, to dat, has only been available to the professionals.  From a monetisation point of view, Squawka delivers a new form of display advertising that mixes Real Time, Content Recognition, Audience Understanding and Emotive Resonance. A good example is the campaign we ran for Dominio’s over the European Championships which changed messages depending on the time of the game and the events on the pitch. For instance, 15 minutes into the games, the Dominio’s messaging would change to show a discount code (to entice an order delivered at half time). The messaging also changed when the England game went to penalties to display the tag line ‘Too good To Miss!’ alongside a branded discount code. 

How did Squawka come about – did you see a gap in the market worth exploiting or was it born from something else?

Squawka was born from the second screen experiences of myself and my Co-Founder, Leo Harrison. We are both big sports fans and users of Twitter and saw real opportunity to improve the user experience. With Squawka, we do this through both big data sets, social media and by always focusing on the experience of the fans. We started this journey around 15 months ago and in that time the Social TV and Second Screen markets have moved on so much – particularly towards sports! We all feel proud to have such a great product in a fast-moving market.

How does Sqawka differentiate itself from other products on the market such as Zeebox?

We love Zeebox. It’s a fantastic tool for everyday consumption. Squawka is more niche and totally focused on Football and delivering something special for fans. We are very much about data visualisation and showing the average fan the real stories of the game. One of our key differentiations is our Performance Score – this is an algorithm that analyses over 2.7 million data points in real time to understand the performance of every team, player or player vs player. The Performance Score can also be filtered by Defence, Attack or Possession. We have some very exciting projects on at the moment correlating the Performance Score with a players transfer/wage value – more on this to come! 

You recently took on Dominos as a launch partner, how did this union come about and what has been the feedback from your initial conversations with brands? Are they keen on your proposition? Was there an initial reluctance?

We are lucky in that we have very good relations with many of the digital agencies in London. Dominio’s work with Arena Media who bought into the Squawka concept very early on in our development and were keen to get Dominio’s involved. Truth be told they have all been fantastic partners for us and to have such a well known brand involved has helped us greatly.  All in all, brands have been very receptive to Squawka and we have also run campaigns for Paddy Power and have an exciting Red Bull campaign waiting to kick off for the new Premiership season! 

Do you have plans to work with broadcasters such as Sky, BT or ESPN on football content? if so, how?

We have met with many of the broadcasters to discuss working together on content. There is certainly potential to synergise but relevance and experience for the football fan must come top of the priority list. We won’t be working with broadcasters for the sake of it – there has to be benefit for the fans. One way in which we do hope to move is to see the Performance Score become a more standardised method of rating teams and players – if a broadcaster/media outlet is reading this and wants discuss it then let me know! 

The second screen proposition is a strong one – do you think the space is being monetised effectively currently? Who are the players you’re excited about/keen to emulate?

It is still very early days for second screen and effective monetisation methods are being sought by all the big players. I love Shazam’s solutions for automated content recognition and I think Zeetags are very clever from an eCommerce point of view. With Squawka I think we have hit onto something very unique with our ad solutions and, after testing, we have seen display campaigns average CTRs of 2.5% – 10 times the industry average for online display advertising.  We are doing something quite unique so I don’t think there is anyone we are looking to emulate but needless to say we have great respect for Zeebox, Shazam, IntoNow and the Sky F1 app. 

What would you see as a successful next 5 years for Sqawka?

Well we are launching the top flight football leagues for England, France, Germany, Spain and Italy all this Autumn so with that growth rate over 5 years I would hope to see us covering many sports in many markets with a world class brand client list to whom we are providing innovative and effective ad solutions. I would also hope to see us working with the media closer to use our performance score as a default measure for every game.


AdMonsters Screens unites the digital media leaders responsible for building the revenue engines of the multi-screen web. Register your place today and join Zeebox and others participating in the space in London on November 28 2012.