Live Games Transmission - Why Bother?

Information regarding live broadcasts using the ECF sensory boards.
Mike Truran
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Live Games Transmission - Why Bother?

Post by Mike Truran » Mon Sep 14, 2015 8:47 pm

A question I've raised in the other place - but on reflection I'm likely to get more of a response here.

Should the 4NCL bother to continue with live games transmission?

1. It costs quite a lot of money.

2. It takes quite a lot of effort to organise.

3. From recollection, we have never received an email from anyone even saying they watch it, let alone thanking us for providing the service.

4. It seems that nobody is willing to countenance a financial model whereby people pay to watch live games transmission. If spectators won't pay for it, why should the participating teams pay for it (through their entry fees)?

LawrenceCooper
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Re: Live Games Transmission - Why Bother?

Post by LawrenceCooper » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:15 pm

Mike Truran wrote:A question I've raised in the other place - but on reflection I'm likely to get more of a response here.

Should the 4NCL bother to continue with live games transmission?

1. It costs quite a lot of money.

2. It takes quite a lot of effort to organise.

3. From recollection, we have never received an email from anyone even saying they watch it, let alone thanking us for providing the service.

4. It seems that nobody is willing to countenance a financial model whereby people pay to watch live games transmission. If spectators won't pay for it, why should the participating teams pay for it (through their entry fees)?
Hard to argue with the above although I'm one of the silent appreciative majority. It's especially welcome for those of us at the Division Three weekend who are cut off from the top 32 teams.

Simon Ansell
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Re: Live Games Transmission - Why Bother?

Post by Simon Ansell » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:17 pm

Hi Mike,

Good question.

Do you have viewing figures - I mean unique visitors and not the wildly exaggerated page hit numbers that are sometimes quoted by chess events?

With reference to your thread somewhere else (I would reply there, but don't have an account and don't intend to make one), I do think there is a difference between the 4NCL and say, the British Championships. The British has at least some sort of global audience and it could be argued that a large part of the target audience for the 4NCL are actually playing in the event and therefore unlikely to actually be able to watch the thing. Or if they do watch, then they're at the venue on the hotel wireless having finished their games.

Regarding a financial model, I don't think it's possible by providing games alone. If a high quality engaging commentary such as the with the US champs is available, then it's easy to see how it works with advertising, attracting sponsors, selling associated products and so on. In my opinion, for the British Champs and by extension British chess, it's necessary to have such coverage of a reasonable quality for the flagship event. Obviously this requires some investment and technical competence, but that's a different matter.
Last edited by Simon Ansell on Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:13 am, edited 4 times in total.

NickFaulks
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Re: Live Games Transmission - Why Bother?

Post by NickFaulks » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:50 pm

If I were not playing myself, I would cheerfully pay £1 for access to a weekend's games. I realise that won't get you far unless a lot of other people feel the same way. I have no idea how much live transmission costs. Personally, I'm not bothered about the professional commentary. Of course, if I'm paying then I shall be less understanding when the live feed crashes, and that issue does not yet seem to have been fully solved by anyone.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Live Games Transmission - Why Bother?

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:02 pm

The game-inputting team appreciate the presence of live games.

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David Shepherd
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Re: Live Games Transmission - Why Bother?

Post by David Shepherd » Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:50 pm

It seems to me that it is right that the games are broadcast for the following reasons:

1) It provides a showcase for the league and enhances the prestige of it
2) Chess seems ideal for online broadcast and it should as such provide an opportunity to generate advertising revenue even if only at low levels

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Paolo Casaschi
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Re: Live Games Transmission - Why Bother?

Post by Paolo Casaschi » Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:04 am

Mike Truran wrote:3. From recollection, we have never received an email from anyone even saying they watch it, let alone thanking us for providing the service.
Why don't you try NOT to broadcast the games next time: either the silent majority becomes vocal or you most likely do not have an audience.

With so many top tournament broadcasted online, with good commentaries and available both live and for replay, I also started to wonder about the need of live games for second tier event.

I seriously doubt about the viability of a pay per view model, both for top events and second tier event: it's just that viewers have no intention to pay and would switch to something else (another chess event, or something completely different). Ultimately the tournament site would have far less viewer, in a way defeating the purpose of live games to promote the event.

The only remote possibility to make this work could be for tournaments to agree a deal with an aggregator like chess24 where only premium members of the aggregator service are allowed to watch games live. If a decent number of events were available only to chess24 premium members this could boost their membership numbers. However the payback for the tournament would be negligible.

Simon Ansell
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Re: Live Games Transmission - Why Bother?

Post by Simon Ansell » Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:51 am

Paolo Casaschi wrote: With so many top tournament broadcasted online, with good commentaries and available both live and for replay, I also started to wonder about the need of live games for second tier event.
I've wondered about this too. An alternative, that is well-suited to a league format such as the 4NCL, could be to produce video round-ups and analysis of each weekend after the event. Pay an established commentator(s) to do this, promote via websites and social media, and it would raise the profile of the event more than only transmitting the games. I don't know exactly how much it costs to broadcast games live, but this would most likely be cheaper too.

Mick Norris
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Re: Live Games Transmission - Why Bother?

Post by Mick Norris » Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:15 am

Mike Truran wrote:A question I've raised in the other place - but on reflection I'm likely to get more of a response here.

Should the 4NCL bother to continue with live games transmission?
No
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Matthew Turner
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Re: Live Games Transmission - Why Bother?

Post by Matthew Turner » Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:49 am

I have considered posting a thread like this a couple of times. MY main reason for not doing so is that the people responsible for transmitting games (Dave Clayton and Andy Howie) are probably the most hard working people involved in British chess and I didn't want them to feel that their efforts were unappreciated.
Over the last couple of years I have played in 5 tournaments in Europe and they have all been excellent in their own way. Some have had lavish sponsorship, some have relied on entry fees. There has been big tournaments, smaller events, events played in hotels, a restaurant, even a library. Indeed the only common theme I could identify was that none of them broadcast live games. Strange then that so much time and effort is taken up with broadcasting events in the UK.
I am glad that Mike raises the question 'what is the point live broadcasts?' With the benefit of hindsight of course it would have been good if this had been considered before so much expenditure went on live boards, but as they say hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Simon Brown
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Re: Live Games Transmission - Why Bother?

Post by Simon Brown » Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:01 am

Hi Mike

As a potential viewer of the live games, I would say don't bother either. A lot of your normal audience would be playing anyway, and for people like me it isn't something I would go out of my way to watch. However it would be good if you could post the replays/PGNs as soon as possible after each weekend.

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Live Games Transmission - Why Bother?

Post by MartinCarpenter » Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:32 am

I did like it one time on the final weekend on Div 3 - quick draw then downstairs to watch the final round in Div 1 live. A bit of an audience as I remember.

As a compromise it could be worth considering trying broadcasting just the final weekend(s?). A bit more definite sporting interest then.

Eric Gardiner
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Re: Live Games Transmission - Why Bother?

Post by Eric Gardiner » Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:17 am

I've watched it on occasions. Thank you for providing the service Mike. (I haven't thanked anyone for it previously by email firstly because I didn't know who to email and secondly because even if I did I wouldn't want to clog up their inbox in case they are receiving dozens of other similar emails every day :) )

As we have to be ECF members to play in the 4NCL, perhaps live transmission should be free to view as a membership benefit and non-ECF members who wish to view should pay :wink: ?

More seriously, if there are no benefits to the 4NCL for providing the service (why was it started?) then I can understand why you would wish to withdraw it.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Live Games Transmission - Why Bother?

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:52 am

I too have watched the live games and would be sad to see them go. If they do go, it would be nice to see the resources put into ensuring that the results of games and the games themselves are put up as quickly as possible. One of the advantages of live game transmission is being able to see the results as the games conclude. Broadcasting the big clashes makes for exciting viewing. It would feel like a backward step to have to wait for the results to pop up on a website, and then to have to wait even longer for the games themselves to be available to play through.

Are the live broadcasts made available to sites like chessbomb and chess24 and so on? If so, the audience there is something that should be taken into account, as that would be more than the audience watching the 4NCL site directly.

Paul Sanders
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Re: Live Games Transmission - Why Bother?

Post by Paul Sanders » Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:52 am

Mike Truran wrote:3. From recollection, we have never received an email from anyone even saying they watch it, let alone thanking us for providing the service.
Thank you very much for providing the service. And genuine thanks for the reminder that nobody should take anything for granted.

One factor you might not have taken into account is that for hangers on like myself the live transmission saves quite a bit of footfall in the playing rooms, which is of course a benefit for the players.

If the cost is prohibitive might there not be some business somewhere willing to pay for broadcast rights?

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