Nov 10, 2011

Point/Counterpoint - A CRB DEBATE : Webcasting

Welcome to Point/Counterpoint...a totally fresh and novel approach to debate that has never been done before. Dig Dug and ODBF will debate the hot topic issues within the waterski world and the ancillary aspects to the death. We argue about everything.

This week we discuss the role of Webcasting. In the past few years, with the rise of technology and speedy internet, more and more tournaments, competitions and events are being webcast. Allowing more fans of the sport to consume the product and hopefully providing a platform for our stars to shine.

A more accurate diagram we have not seen
Point/Counterpoint #1 : Is it appropriate for our sport to embrace webcasting?

ODBF: Webcasting is a good step forward for our sport, for years since we fell off ESPN we have only gotten a couple pictures of events and then scores much later or not at all. Tony, Tadd, Tom Grey and a few others have brought pro tournaments back into the comfort of our homes. Could the webcasts be better? Hell yea they could, but I could also be in better shape and that is not going to happen anytime soon.

Dig Dug:  Appropriate, yes.  But beyond webcasting, the embrace of social media and whatever technology available is a good thing for this sport.  As with many things waterski based, it does seem a bit hit and miss sometimes, but, wrapping your arms around what is available to you is, in general, a good thing.

The right amount of money gets you webcast of CRB offices

Point/Counterpoint #2 : Would you like to see more integration of webcasting?

ODBF: Webcasting needs to be an integral part of every tournament. Right now the vast majority of pro tournaments have very small crowds and that does no good for the sponsors. Say GM sponsors an event then they roll in and see that their $40k has bought them exposure to 500 people, there is no chance in hell they will come back next year. Now say they come to the site and see 500 people and total webcast hits of over 10,000, well that will get them thinking this was a decent investment of marketing dollars.

Dig Dug: Yes, absolutely.  Its tough, in that, there are really only a few people that, currently, effectively produce and distribute webcasting for waterskiing and currently it appears really only in the 3-event realm, that we are aware of.  It would be great to see this level of availablity in all areas, wakeboard tournaments, barefoot events, big dawg slalom events, ski racing, etc.  Further, not only just webcasting, but, online chats and channels/views/camera angles and the like.

All of a sudden we have a powerful thirst
Point/Counterpoint #3 : Can webcasting become part of an overall cohesive marketing plan?

ODBF: As my example above shows, not only can it be part of the overall marketing plan but it has to be. Waterskiing is a small sport with a small following spread around the world, getting someone to fly from Utah to Michigan to go watch slaloming for 2 days is not likely to happen. But make it so Joe Cowboy from Utah can throw his lappy on the coffee table and drink a couple beers while watching some swervers tear it up and you are much more likely to get him to give up a few hours on the weekend. Now that you have those viewers watching your webcast you have something to bring to advertisers. Much more likely to get sponsors if said sponsors see that thousands of people will see their name.

Dig Dug:  Yeah, sure, but I think you are missing something there ODBF, in that, unless you are really in tune with the various events going on you have no idea that its even being webcast.  I have missed a bunch of them because I didn't know there was an event going on.  A cohesive marketing plan needs to start from the top down and again this goes a bit to USA Waterski and/or whomever the governing bodies are.  Which, for the overall health and growth of our sport, could step up a bit and have a central location for information on all events, promotion of events and have guidelines for said production of the event.  Maybe, like, a professional sports league or something.  But, there are pro-ams and night jams and malibu opens and the like, that don't appear, from the outside looking in, to have any connection with each other or a specific way to learn about them.

Aerodynamically poor
Point/Counterpoint #4 : Is our sport best served by "in-house" production vs. an outside production house?

Dig Dug:  This is a tough one, because as CRB'ers we love us some tony and tadd, and they do great work and it looks like, with the waterski broadcasting thing that Tony is doing, laying the groundwork for future improvement.  So, its a matter of how this would tie into the above marketing/promotion machine that our sport could benefit from.  

ODBF: Right now we are getting decent results from Tony, and Tom Grey, those results could be much better. But cost is a prohibitive factor right now and the current options are not exorbitantly expensive. Stick with what you know.

Producing a televised waterski broadcast is strangely complicated these days
Point/Counterpoint #5 : In a glass ball, what do you think is the possible outcome for our sport, from a production/exposure aspect?

ODBF: We will continue to push webcasts and as the technology gets better so will the results. As we get more and more people watching the webcasts we can start to sell our sport to TV again. FoxSports, Versus, ESPN possibly, and so on, are the end goal.

Dig Dug:  I agree sort of, but, i disagree with the idea of "selling" our sport to an espn or versus or fuel or a sense, everything is a sale..the NFL, for example, doesn't need to "sell" its product, people are lined up to buy, but, they focus on their own brand to make it more attractive to suiters.  That is a slight way of looking at that difference, but, I would like to see...or more specifically, the best possible outcome that I see would be that USA Waterski or Waterski broadcasting or pro ski tour or a new company build a brand, build a product that is so desirable that someone will want to purchase/product/package and promote.  For example, CRB Productions builds a production arm and streamlines the process to the point where Fuel TV or the like could simply plug and play into the production arm of CRB Productions to televise the events, the shows, etc. 

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