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The current state of pro cycling - an appraisal

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Re: Re:

20 Aug 2018 13:05

fmk_RoI wrote:So now you want the UCI to get into the broadcast business?


I've said that right from the start - either the UCI themselves or a directly affiliated/contracted partner. Many of the big sports federations and governing bodies now produce their own content. It's the way of the present, and of the future.

That's the beauty of streaming - thanks to modern internet capabilities organisations can produce their own content and sell it direct to the consumer, who can watch it at their leisure. No middle-men, significantly reduced costs, almost complete control over how to market the sport.
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Re: Re:

20 Aug 2018 13:09

Mamil wrote:Only other thing I would add is that the streaming service would also cover the big races, just not exclusively. But as a sweetener it would include extra content on those.
This deserves a response all to itself. Let's look at France, where we've already established that France Télévisions claims to make a loss on showing the Tour each year but feels it is a necessary prestige event that enables it to charge the advertising rates it does the rest of the year round. Now what is being proposed is to undermine the prestige of the local broadcaster's product by also making the race available on a rival online broadcaster. Response? France Télévisions doesn't feel the need to pay as much as it does. The Orwellian reality being that in order to grow cycling's TV revenues we need to reduce them. Brilliant.
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Re: Re:

20 Aug 2018 13:20

fmk_RoI wrote:You really aren't playing with a full deck, are you? A couple of commentators and a presenter? What language are we broadcasting in, the universal language of bollicks?

Have you even looked at reality recently? What size broadcast team does Europsort have to bring to a race in order to meet the needs of its small number of Europe-based broadcasters?

You play with your fantasies, I'll stick to the real world.


I'll continue to ignore your pointless insults.

On commentary I'll concede an under-estimate. But the vast majority of the pro cycling community is able to speak one of 3 languages - English, French or Spanish. That would be enough, at least for a start. Still not a lot of people. They wouldn't even need to travel - all you need is a live feed, and the commentators can operate from wherever they please.

I have no idea how many people Eurosport employ. Probably too many. Again, in this digital age, the amount of production staff required to broadcast sport is surprisingly small. You just need to be smart about it.

The idea that this is all somehow fanciful is laughable. For God's sake, I can get streaming of my local state basketball league (that's just state, mind, not even the national league, and it's certainly a minority sport here). But somehow a global sport like cycling couldn't manage it? Please...
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Re: Re:

20 Aug 2018 13:29

Mamil wrote:I have no idea how many people Eurosport employ. Probably too many. Again, in this digital age, the amount of production staff required to broadcast sport is surprisingly small.
This seems to be your go to response. The people doing it now aren't doing it right. ASO? ASO isn't making the money it should simply because it doesn't need to. Eurosport? Eurosport is spending too much televising races.

Man. If only they'd employ you...
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20 Aug 2018 14:07

To get an idea of the actual demand for online cycling content, let's consider Velon's free-to-air YouTube channel. The viewing figures there show just how easy racking up 100,000 punters paying $100 a year is. Piece of cake, right?

But, of course, Velon aren't doing it right. Are they, Mamil?
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Re: Re:

20 Aug 2018 20:52

fmk_RoI wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
fmk_RoI wrote:The SBS shows: are they with local commentators, noticing the Aussie riders, or they are with 'neutral' commentary, something not localized to specific markets, a one-size-fits-all commentary?

SBS takes the feed from the race broadcaster, and for major races then adds their own studio team to top and tail the broadcast with the occasional mid-race discussion. At the TdF they also send their own crew to the tour to provide extra content.
And because "little Australia" is able to do this you believe, for the sake of consistency in broadcasting, that little Djibouti should also have it's own commentators covering all the major races in a season?

Where did I say such a thing?

You keep putting words in my mouth. Please don't.

Little Djibouti can simply take the direct broadcast feed with no need to augment with it's own content, because the direct feed itself is already broadcast-ready. Any nation's network could do this without need to add on an expensive production budget. That broadcasters in some countries might like to also add extras would be entirely up to them.
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Re: Re:

20 Aug 2018 21:05

fmk_RoI wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:To legitimately watch the Giro, you'd have to have Foxtel, and to be able to record and watch it next day at a reasonable hour, you'd have to have Foxtel IQ.
And this is a problem how? You are, are you not, the one advocating moving cycling to a fully paid up online streaming service, where only the dedicated will watch? (Thus killing at a stroke the 70% of the Tour's French TV audience that's only there for the scenery.)

It's a problem because it would involve me spending over $1k just to be able to watch a couple of races.

fmk_RoI wrote:You are, are you not, the one advocating moving cycling to a fully paid up online streaming service, where only the dedicated will watch? (Thus killing at a stroke the 70% of the Tour's French TV audience that's only there for the scenery.)

No, I am not.

Again you keep putting words in my mouth.

A streaming service with virtual video recording option could be delivered for an order of magnitude less and provide the entire season's races. That's something I'd pay for. It's perfect for servicing markets where TV networks don't cover all races.

Never have I said this is the only option for viewing. If a French TV network wants to broadcast the consolidated season feed and has the rights to do so in France, then go right ahead. That way the French won't need access to such a service.

But I'd expect the vast majority of nations could be well served with such an option.
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Re:

20 Aug 2018 21:10

fmk_RoI wrote:To get an idea of the actual demand for online cycling content, let's consider Velon's free-to-air YouTube channel. The viewing figures there show just how easy racking up 100,000 punters paying $100 a year is. Piece of cake, right?

But, of course, Velon aren't doing it right. Are they, Mamil?

These are no more than video snippets or highlights lasting a few minutes. This is not a broadcast, or even a narrowcast, of races.
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Re: Re:

20 Aug 2018 22:57

fmk_RoI wrote:
Mamil wrote:Only other thing I would add is that the streaming service would also cover the big races, just not exclusively. But as a sweetener it would include extra content on those.
This deserves a response all to itself. Let's look at France, where we've already established that France Télévisions claims to make a loss on showing the Tour each year but feels it is a necessary prestige event that enables it to charge the advertising rates it does the rest of the year round. Now what is being proposed is to undermine the prestige of the local broadcaster's product by also making the race available on a rival online broadcaster. Response? France Télévisions doesn't feel the need to pay as much as it does. The Orwellian reality being that in order to grow cycling's TV revenues we need to reduce them. Brilliant.


I must admit I'm not 100% sure what the best approach would be to take with the GTs in relation to a streaming service. Show them with additional content as suggested, or alternatively don't show them in full, but have the streaming service just have a highlights package plus some additional stuff like interviews, press conferences and little information pieces. The UCI or whoever would have to look at the economics of it and the best way of maintaining the value of the races both to the service and the regular broadcasters. But I've little doubt it would be achievable one way or another.
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Re: Re:

20 Aug 2018 23:07

fmk_RoI wrote:
Mamil wrote:I have no idea how many people Eurosport employ. Probably too many. Again, in this digital age, the amount of production staff required to broadcast sport is surprisingly small.
This seems to be your go to response. The people doing it now aren't doing it right. ASO? ASO isn't making the money it should simply because it doesn't need to. Eurosport? Eurosport is spending too much televising races.

Man. If only they'd employ you...


If you're arguing for competence and efficiency in the way cycling is currently run and covered that would be a first on these boards.

The point with Eurosport is they are making a product for TV within a particular market. The needs for streaming are smaller and less labour intensive. The other thing is as I've already said for most races there's no need to double up on costs. There would be one production team, licensed by the UCI, which works with and shares the costs with the host broadcaster to produce the coverage of whichever race, and that feed is then used by the broadcaster/s and streaming respectively, with their own commentary and other bits and pieces added on to suit their respective markets, one local, one global. So the actual overheads on production costs would hardly increase at all to the current situation. F1 has done it this way for years. There is no reason why cycling couldn't too on a smaller scale.
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Re: Re:

20 Aug 2018 23:18

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
fmk_RoI wrote:To get an idea of the actual demand for online cycling content, let's consider Velon's free-to-air YouTube channel. The viewing figures there show just how easy racking up 100,000 punters paying $100 a year is. Piece of cake, right?

But, of course, Velon aren't doing it right. Are they, Mamil?

These are no more than video snippets or highlights lasting a few minutes. This is not a broadcast, or even a narrowcast, of races.


Exactly. They're not remotely comparable.

My last comment on the streaming concept will be to say that I remain convinced that it's both viable and desirable. It would require a shakeup of the current production and distribution model, and it would take a little time, but it could be done. If I had any confidence in the governance of the sport I would make some statement like 'sometime within the next 20 years I'll be able to dig this post up and say "look, now there it is"'. But as this is the UCI we're dealing with I'll not dare be so forthright.
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Re: Re:

21 Aug 2018 11:54

Mamil wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
fmk_RoI wrote:To get an idea of the actual demand for online cycling content, let's consider Velon's free-to-air YouTube channel. The viewing figures there show just how easy racking up 100,000 punters paying $100 a year is. Piece of cake, right?

But, of course, Velon aren't doing it right. Are they, Mamil?

These are no more than video snippets or highlights lasting a few minutes. This is not a broadcast, or even a narrowcast, of races.


Exactly. They're not remotely comparable.
Actually, they're a very good indicator of demand, and of the 'ease' with which 100,000 punters paying $100 a head can be acquired.

But, if you don't like that, dismiss this: the UCI's YouTube channel, with full live broadcasts. Look at that audience.

I appreciate that, for the pair of you, evidence is meaningless, reality is meaningless, all that matters are your little fantasies, but please, try and engage with the real world.
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Re: Re:

21 Aug 2018 21:41

fmk_RoI wrote:
Mamil wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
fmk_RoI wrote:To get an idea of the actual demand for online cycling content, let's consider Velon's free-to-air YouTube channel. The viewing figures there show just how easy racking up 100,000 punters paying $100 a year is. Piece of cake, right?

But, of course, Velon aren't doing it right. Are they, Mamil?

These are no more than video snippets or highlights lasting a few minutes. This is not a broadcast, or even a narrowcast, of races.


Exactly. They're not remotely comparable.
Actually, they're a very good indicator of demand, and of the 'ease' with which 100,000 punters paying $100 a head can be acquired.

But, if you don't like that, dismiss this: the UCI's YouTube channel, with full live broadcasts. Look at that audience.

I appreciate that, for the pair of you, evidence is meaningless, reality is meaningless, all that matters are your little fantasies, but please, try and engage with the real world.

That content is not worth $100.

The Broadcast of all races over a season is of interest. The UCI channel does not show any mens world tour race.

Your analogy is not even comparing two different types of fruit.

Please, I ask you to engage in a respectful manner. Is that too much to ask?
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22 Aug 2018 02:12

A streaming service without the ability to record (DVR) and watch later isn't exactly helpful either. In the US for many races on line is the only way to get the races to start with. For us streaming is just as useful as the races not being shown at all as we're basically either asleep or working while they're being raced. Granted we aren't exactly a target market either. We do need the ability to watch the races at a more convenient time. Also due to some US laws who it most likely also means a US based company has to be involved. And we do have 3 on line services that do show cycling. NBC, which many of us won't use because we are already paying for their content with cable/satellite subscription, FuboTV (which is basically internet TV and just costs too much monthly to add to what we're already paying), and FloBikes which is a new and might be workable especially if you already own a Roku device.
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22 Aug 2018 03:28

That's why I thought something like a Fubo solution would be good as it enables recording and replay, like having a virtual hard drive recorder. Better if it's via software already in the TV or a device plugged into the TV.

It's how I watched the Giro this year but I needed to run it from my laptop connected to the TV.
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Re: Re:

22 Aug 2018 09:34

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:That content is not worth $100.
Hal-a-bleeding-lule-ya. I fear we might finally be getting through to the People's Republic of Fantasia. Of course that's not worth $100. You can barely give it away at $0. But look around you, look at Velon's channel, Le Tour's channel, look and you will see the same audience number, circa 30,000.

In order to demonstrate an unserviced demand of 100,000 people willing to pay $100 a head, we need to show there is an audience for the free product. Given typical conversion rates of 1-5%, we would need to show an audience of 2,000,000 to 10,000,000 for the free product. They're not all going to be on a YouTube channel but there will be evidence for their existence.

We also need to consider that that audience will have to be English-, Spanish-, or French-speaking, as they are the only languages we've decided to service.

There will also need to be evidence that they are not coming from the current TV audience, which across Europe is currently in the region of 10,000,000. There is no point in undermining the value of the current TV product by cannibalising its audience for a new streaming service. We are supposed to be growing revenue here, not shrinking it.

We could get into demographics, how cycling's TV audience tends toward the middle-aged, and ask how willing they are to move from existing TV to streaming services that involve faffing around with laptops and cables. But we don't need to get into that yet. Let's first concentrate on showing where the 100,000 punters paying $100 a head are coming from.

We do need to get into where that mythical $10,000,000 goes. I've already asked how much is the tax man's slice (in sale's taxes - many territories have them and it would be hypocritical to evade them if we are demanding race organisers pay their dues), how much goes to the service providers (being capable of meeting the demand of 100,000 concurrent users is not cheap), how much goes on making the product and on marketing the product. Then we get down to the real meat and two veg of this whole sorry saga: what's the UCI's slice, what goes back to the race organisers and - most importantly to this debate - how much of what is left is paid back to each team? Give me a number, do.

These numbers matter. You may be a technological fantasist, a believer in the build-it-they-will-come model but the race organisers are realists and if you are ever going to convince the race organisers of the need to surrender their rights for the greater good, then you are going to have to come back to the real world and show some evidence.
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22 Aug 2018 10:33

I still don't get your point. The only comparison that makes sense is with content people want to watch, i.e. actual races, not fluff pieces and 2-minute highlight reels.

If any of those channels you cite actually had pro / world tour men's bike races on view, then we can talk about the audience and financial viability comparison. Else the comparison makes no sense. Why compare content very few are interested in watching with content that many would be interested in watching.

It's like saying the YouTube channel covering slow motion repeats of ends of the local lawn bowls tournament is a good guide to how many people might want to pay watch a Formula 1 race on their TV.
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Re:

22 Aug 2018 10:34

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:I still don't get your point.
Oh. My. God.
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Re:

22 Aug 2018 20:05

Alex Simmons/RST wrote: Why compare content very few are interested in watching with content that many would be interested in watching.


But that's exactly the point that's been made (albeit in an overly disparaging style).

You say there's many that would be interested in watching such content. How many and how do we know this? I just don't see evidence that the audience being there to make it work at present.
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Re: Re:

22 Aug 2018 21:13

simoni wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote: Why compare content very few are interested in watching with content that many would be interested in watching.


But that's exactly the point that's been made (albeit in an overly disparaging style).

You say there's many that would be interested in watching such content. How many and how do we know this? I just don't see evidence that the audience being there to make it work at present.

Well you start with the numbers actually watching the actual race content available now, not by looking at completely different and irrelevant content. At least compare apples with pears, and not with rubber bands.

Now once you have that information, consider that many people watching that actual race content can only access some of the content, not all of it.

e.g. I'd watch more races if more of the race season were available to me to watch. But they're not.

I think it would be reasonable to assume that the current aggregate number of people viewing the disparate televising of races would represent the minimum number of people viewing races should all the content be available to all the people who wanted to watch it.
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