“TV BET is a female-driven company. We have very creative presidents”
Deputy Head of Sales at TV BET, Danuta Janicka-Mierzwa, in an interview with iGaming Express, talks about the company’s activities on many markets, support for women in the iGaming industry, new products such as Fast Sport, and the rebranding process of the company.
You’ve been working at TV BET for about 1.5 years. How did it happen that you found yourself in the iGaming industry, which you had no prior experience with?
That summer, I found myself in a situation without any job. So, I decided that by September 1st, I would find a job where there is no mobbing – which is not so obvious in the Polish market, and where you can earn well. A week before the deadline, my current boss called, we talked, and I got the job starting September 1st. That’s how I ended up at TV BET. Of course, I applied through LinkedIn and did everything to find a job. It turned out that a range of skills I have allowed me to fit in well here.
The first words indicate that TV BET is an employee-friendly company.
Definitely, the company takes care of us on many levels. In this context, I can only use superlatives towards the employer.
What is your current role in the company? After all, you didn’t start off in that position.
I started as an Account Manager, which allowed me to get acquainted with the market: see who we work with, what client work involves, how promotions are organized, and what marketing looks like in the industry. It gave me a very clear introduction to iGaming.
However, I have experience in sales. In February this year, I was invited to ICE London. I saw how huge this market is and it opened my eyes to the many opportunities it offers. It is a global, structured market, like many others. A corporate system operates in it. Regardless of the position, everyone can find their place there. And this is not widely talked about.
ICE turned out to be a perfect hit, I showed what I am capable of, which is why since February I have moved to the sales department and have been developing there.
You speak of the corporate system in the market. Isn’t that a problem, in terms of decision-making or information flow? This problem often arises in corporations. How is it at TV BET?
Our company is international: we have offices in Warsaw and Malta, but we also employ people from other parts of Europe. We have a quite efficient internal communication system, departments communicate with each other, we know who to contact to get information as quickly as possible. So, once a person gets familiar with who is responsible for what, it’s possible to operate efficiently.
I think this results from the fact that we are focused on collaboration. It’s not like we ‘undercut’ each other’s positions, but we work together. There is no specific career path that one can choose after finishing studies. In this business, you learn everything from scratch. I really value the help we give each other.
One of the most important markets for you is the African market. What are the biggest challenges regarding this market?
It’s a very diverse continent: 55 independent states, with different cultures and infrastructures. In each of them, the player profile differs slightly, different games are popular. We know what generally sells in Africa, but delving into each market separately, it turns out that they have their own distinct characteristics. In one place, you have to reach out to female players who are actively engaged, in another, sports betting sells better.
The key to all this is awareness that it’s a diverse continent. We have an agent on-site who has been representing the company for many years, but we also go out into the field ourselves. This year we were in Nigeria, in Lagos. Next year we plan to travel to another country. This allows us to understand how the markets function.
We have very creative presidents, so after each trip, we come back with heads full of ideas. It should be emphasized that these ideas are implemented almost immediately, depending on the needs. We are very flexible in this regard.
I know that as TV BET, you are focusing on increasing the role of women in the iGaming industry. How do you implement your ideas in the African market?
After my trip to Lagos, I saw that the market there is very male-dominated, which was confirmed by participants of a recent webinar we conducted with iGaming Africa. This is mainly because the main driving force of the market was sports betting until recently. Now, this is changing, thanks to virtual games like slots or lotteries.
These games are designed graphically in a way that doesn’t suggest a specific gender target. Indeed, there are markets where women are increasingly participating. Lotteries, like Keno or Bingo, are something that women are very eager to play. However, these are not revolutionary changes. A lot depends on the internet, which is not immediately available everywhere in good quality, to European standards.
The female player market will develop at its own pace. However, when it comes to women’s position in the industry, there is still a lack of awareness among women that this is a market they can work in. And from conversations with women, we know they have great ideas for strategies. They know what needs to be done to make them work: from local initiatives to discussions about legislative changes with the government. I think certain changes will eventually happen.
How would you compare the participation of women in the African market to the European market?
When I talk to potential partners in the European market, I quite often find myself talking to a woman in a decision-making position. In Europe, especially in the West, the proportions are roughly half and half. In Africa, however, these positions are almost exclusively held by men. If there are women, they are most often on the marketing side.
What actions are you taking to make changes in this matter?
We participate in webinars, for example, where we share experiences. Above all, we set an example internally: I would say that TV BET is powered by women. We are a very female-driven company – over half of the company consists of presenters. But it doesn’t end there.
The women employed by us have opportunities for development. Often they start as presenters, but soon afterwards they take over leading their own team, or the production side. Women hold key positions, such as in accounting, and our COO is a woman. I am also a good example of our actions, as someone who managed to become the Deputy Head of Sales within a year.
All this shows that we don’t just focus on women, but primarily look at competence. Thanks to this, women make up over half of the employees of a company that is constantly developing.
Honestly, I recently felt slightly discriminated against when I saw your advertisement on TikTok, which was recruiting only female presenters.
No, we are also looking for male presenters! Perhaps you just came across such an advertisement, but sometimes I participate in recruitments and I have to say, we are open to male presenters as well, and they have a chance to stand out. For now, they are in the minority, but I think this might also change.
Where did this rather original idea to look for employees on TikTok come from?
It seems to me that it is a medium that builds a lifestyle: thanks to it, I can show what I live by, what my work is about. There are many influencers on TikTok. It is a medium with a wider reach than any other social media platform. Thanks to good account setup, you have a chance to reach the right recipients.
There are certain stereotypes about the industry and what this job may involve. We had situations where girls who took part in recruitment processes asked if they were taking part in a casting for a website with erotic content, because it seemed impossible to them that the job paid so well. Especially since we often employ students because we need young faces in front of the camera.
TikTok is therefore an obvious channel for us to show what a presenter’s work is like, from entering the office, through putting on makeup, to sitting in front of the camera and working in front of it. This is not an easy job – it is very demanding. You need to have the right predispositions for it. It gives you the opportunity to gain some experience that is not obvious on the market: the ability to behave in front of the camera and talk fluently about what is happening in the game. I think TikTok captures this perfectly.
Are there situations where you reach out to someone present on TikTok, or do you rely only on reports?
We rather recruit from applications. It’s a matter of a person’s will to enter the industry and be willing to be on camera for 8 hours. I also help with recruitment on Facebook and LinkedIn, so the channels of reaching me are different. TikTok helps build awareness.
Perhaps the problem also results from the fact that the entire gambling industry in Poland is a bit enchanted. In Poland it is not treated as entertainment, but rather something illegal. There is a lack of awareness about legal entities, there is a lot of gray zone…
Definitely. There is not enough talk about the regulated market, these companies are treated as a niche: there is a bookmaker’s place somewhere where you can place bets and only some chosen group really knows what it is all about. There is a lack of awareness of how companies in the industry are structured and how they function.
I also wasn’t aware that I was working for a company that deals with gambling. I applied for the position of Account Manager and did not delve into the subject. If you had told me in 2016 that I would work in the gambling industry, I would have laughed at you, because I was a university lecturer at the time!
I think there is a lack of awareness about the industry. People have too many prejudices, they think through the prism of gambling addictions. Of course, this is not untrue, but you have to take into account that we operate in a certain niche.
Little is said about the fact that gambling companies invest in foundations that help people overcome addictions. Addicts are individuals, not the majority. And a lot of people operate in this business like people going to a kiosk and placing a lottery ticket. A serious conversation is needed on this topic to show how this business really works.
How important is the Polish market for TV BET in this international expansion?
Very important. We have many serious partners with whom we have built “Polish poker”. This is a game that we are currently opening on the market. We have partnerships with most suppliers, so the market is important to us. However, it is known that many forms of gambling are prohibited in our country, only cooperation based on sports betting is possible, and this is what we do.
We are also opening a new product, “Fast Sport”. These are games that are based on amateur and semi-professional matches. Football is involved, but we are talking about matches of small teams, table tennis, played under the aegis of the Polish and Ukrainian table tennis federations, and e-sport. These are short matches, from 5 to 30 minutes, played live, and there is a limited possibility of placing bets. This is a very good alternative for the period when the biggest leagues are not playing. You can then come in and play with the product.
The partners we work with provide us with approximately 10,000 matches per month. In football, these formats range from 2v2 to 5v5. All products have a similar betting system.
Is it already available on some market?
We already have our first customers, we have been advertising this product throughout the past year. We really want to enter the Polish market, the betting system is being adapted to the Polish market, so if anyone is interested in cooperation, please contact us. We have already held talks with Polish operators and there is great interest.
What do you think will be the trends in the gaming market?
I think that in our case, as a producer, “Polish Poker” will probably evolve. We are thinking about certain improvements, with the customer in mind, technological improvements. We also want to develop “Fast Sport” to add new sports to the offer: tennis, basketball, handball. I think there will be demand for this type of game on the market.
We also need to talk to the rebranding of BET TV. How will this process work?
This year we started the rebranding process, which is being implemented step by step in several areas. We want to convey that we are young, flexible and mobile. Emphasize ambition, energy and commitment to maintain these qualities. Thanks to the new image, we have become brighter, which is visible during the expo and at our stands. The new design makes us more visible on the market.
Previously we had darker colors, now white dominates. We move with the times, which is also related to the products we develop. In line with trends, we focus on minimalism, and white is an integral part of it.
Finally, please tell us about your and TV BET’s goals for the coming year.
First of all: personal development. I love to learn and discover new trends and BET TV allows me to do this. The market is huge, so I learn every day. On the other hand, I can transfer my skills to a team that I also want to give the opportunity to develop. So that the sales team consciously realizes the company’s goals – that’s what I’m currently striving for.