New broadcast model for World Championship Match

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Andrew Murray-Watson
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New broadcast model for World Championship Match

Post by Andrew Murray-Watson » Mon Oct 17, 2016 10:24 am

Morning everyone
The below is a press release that Agon is putting out this morning.

Since the Candidates we have been working hard to put in place a broadcasting model that will hopefully support the sustainable commercial development of chess for the benefit of everyone including chess websites and national federations. We got hit by a fair amount of criticism over our decision to enforce our broadcast rights at the time of the Candidates and I don't want to reopen that debate. But I hope that the below announcement will be well received. In short it means that anyone can watch the live moves of the Championship Match for free in their preferred chess website. it also means that chess websites will be able to share in the financial upside of what we are doing.

There is also an open letter from Ilya Merenzon, Agon CEO, on this subject at https://worldchess.com/2016/10/17/an-op ... st-policy/

I look forward to hearing your feedback.

Release follows:

Agon Ltd launches affiliate programme for broadcast of World Championship Match


• Chess websites to profit from virtual reality broadcast of Match
• Live moves will be freely available on major chess and media websites
• National chess federations also set to benefit

November 17, 2016: Agon Ltd, the commercial rights holder to the World Chess Championship cycle, today launched its affiliate programme for the broadcast of the forthcoming Championship Match that takes place in November.

The strategy is designed to provide chess enthusiasts around the world with the highest-level user experience for the eagerly awaited Match between reigning champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and his challenger Sergey Karjakin of Russia. It will also enable chess websites or media organisations to directly profit from the broadcast of the contest.

Affiliate partners, such as chess and media websites, will be supplied with a widget that will show the live representation of the game board in the Championship Match and also includes a cutting edge chess analysis engine which can think up to 16 moves ahead. The widget will be available in a number of different colours and formats and will be available as a free “plug in” for affiliates’ websites.

The widget will also feature a link to the premium service that includes 360° virtual reality broadcast of the Match, numerous other video feeds as well as grandmaster and guest celebrity commentary.

The premium pay-per-view broadcast, that will cost $15 for the whole match, or about the same price as a cinema ticket, will be promoted on the free widget with the host website receiving up to 10% commission for each of its users who upgrades to it.
Chess websites that accept the terms of using the official broadcast widget will decline to add their own commentary and analysis tools to the live representation of the moves. Instead they will financially benefit from the official Agon premium broadcast.

National chess federations will also be given a unique affiliate code for the premium broadcast product. When a chess fan uses this code to purchase the broadcast, a percentage of that sale goes back to the federation.

Ilya Merenzon, the Chief Executive of Agon, said: “Our mandate has always been to increase the commercial prospects for chess as a global sport and to grow its audience size.

“Today’s announcement is a major milestone in the sustainable commercial development of the sport we all love.

“Our affiliate programme is designed to make the Championship Match available for anyone to watch, for free, on their preferred choice of chess website. Secondly, when a user of any website that incorporates our widget chooses to upgrade to our premium pay-per-view broadcast product, that website will directly profit.

“And by including national chess federations in our affiliate programme, we will be directly ploughing money back into the grassroots of chess around the world.

Any chess or other media organisation that wishes to incorporate the free broadcast widget should request membership in the affiliate program at agonlimited.com/affiliates.

Agon also reiterated today that it would take legal action against any website that broadcasts the live moves of the Championship games without taking the official broadcast widget.

Mr Merenzon said: “A website that wants to broadcast the live moves for free simply has to request the use of our official widget. But any rogue website that chooses to operate a pirate broadcast of the live moves will be subject to legal action that is in line with our ongoing commitment to professionalise the commercial side of chess for the benefit of players and fans alike. ”


Spectator and VIP tickets for the World Chess Championship Match are available at: http://www.ticketfly.com/venue/24715

Full details of the Championship Match are available at: http://nyc2016.fide.com/

ENDS

About FIDE:

The World Chess Federation or Fédération Internationale des Echecs, (FIDE), is recognised by its members and the International Olympic Committee as the international federation in the domain of chess, the supreme body responsible for the sport of chess and its Championships. FIDE has the sole rights to organise the World Chess Championships and the Chess Olympiads.


About Agon Limited:

Agon Limited is the official partner of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) and owner the World Chess brand as well as commercial rights holder to the FIDE World Chess Championship cycle. The company aims to develop and commercialize chess, create favorable environment for partners, players, and brands, and to significantly expand the broadcast coverage of the sport.

For further information please contact:

Andrew Murray-Watson
Director of Communications
Mob: +44 7515 695232
Tel: +44 207 564 8909
Email: andrewmw@agonlimited.com

Alex Holowczak
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Re: New broadcast model for World Championship Match

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Oct 17, 2016 10:53 am

Andrew Murray-Watson wrote:The premium pay-per-view broadcast, that will cost $15 for the whole match, or about the same price as a cinema ticket, will be promoted on the free widget with the host website receiving up to 10% commission for each of its users who upgrades to it.
Chess websites that accept the terms of using the official broadcast widget will decline to add their own commentary and analysis tools to the live representation of the moves. Instead they will financially benefit from the official Agon premium broadcast.

National chess federations will also be given a unique affiliate code for the premium broadcast product. When a chess fan uses this code to purchase the broadcast, a percentage of that sale goes back to the federation.
Firstly, it would seem cinema tickets are more expensive in the USA than they are in the UK. :)

But questions:
(1) You say a host website is receiving 10%, but a Federation affiliate gets "a percentage" - is this also 10%, something else, or does it vary depending on the Federation?
(2) In real terms, what income do you expect this to generate for a Federation such as England?
Andrew Murray-Watson wrote:Agon also reiterated today that it would take legal action against any website that broadcasts the live moves of the Championship games without taking the official broadcast widget.
A few questions about this:
(1) What is the progress/outcome of the legal action you have already taken against the websites who broadcast the Candidates Tournament?
(2) Why do these other sites need to take the official broadcast widget? Why isn't it enough for them to, for example, link to the Agon premium membership service?
(3) How much input have the chess websites who broadcast the Candidates had in this new system? Are you confident they're going to go along with it?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: New broadcast model for World Championship Match

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:02 am

Alex Holowczak wrote: (3) How much input have the chess websites who broadcast the Candidates had in this new system? Are you confident they're going to go along with it?
Agon wrote: Chess websites that accept the terms of using the official broadcast widget will decline to add their own commentary and analysis tools to the live representation of the moves.
Chess sites seek to attract visitors by adding value to the coverage of live games by supplementing this with analysis and commentary. What Agon fails to appreciate is that such sites act 24/7 and build an audience for live chess. It could be argued that Agon are acting as a parasite on this evolving coverage


There are those who like to discuss games in real time, on this forum for example. The long standing convention is that the moves of a chess game are public domain, being a record of facts. Equally if someone posts that move x should be played, that's their intellectual property as analysis. Neither have anything to do with Agon.

Andrew Murray-Watson
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Re: New broadcast model for World Championship Match

Post by Andrew Murray-Watson » Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:03 am

Hi there
Federations also get 10%.
In terms of income to specific federations: Honestly, this is a brand new model so it is quite difficult to estimate the revenue for specific federations and it will slightly depend on how successfully federations communicate to their members about it. But hypothetically, if a federation has 100,000 members and 5% sign up, then by my maths, that would result in revenue of $7,500. And that is just for the Championship. If that is repeated over the course of the Championship cycle, it soon starts to add up into some sizeable amounts.
I will need to get back to you re. your question on whether sites need to take the widget in order to promote the premium service. But not sure why they wouldn't take the widget anyway, given it is free and provides a service to their members who do not want to pay for the premium product.
We did consult with certain chess websites about this model and we are confident that it will be widely adopted.

As far as the legal action is concerned - as you can appreciate these cases take a while to reach court, but the action taken against websites that commenced at the Candidates are ongoing and nearing a court date.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: New broadcast model for World Championship Match

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:06 am

Andrew Murray-Watson wrote: But not sure why they wouldn't take the widget anyway, given it is free and provides a service to their members who do not want to pay for the premium product.
We did consult with certain chess websites about this model and we are confident that it will be widely adopted.
During the Candidates you asserted that posters on this forum were not allowed to post this game in pgn and discuss it. Is this threat still active? Let's assume that Carl doesn't install your widget, as if he does, the conditions appear to disallow commentary.

Andrew Murray-Watson
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Re: New broadcast model for World Championship Match

Post by Andrew Murray-Watson » Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:08 am

Roger,
I am not sure how Agon can be fairly described as a parasite if we are giving chess websites the chance to make money from our investment in the sport. This whole model is about making sure that everyone who has long nurtured communities of chess fans can benefit financially from what we are doing.

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: New broadcast model for World Championship Match

Post by Carl Hibbard » Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:12 am

I don't expect Chess24 will take any notice of this nonsense?
Cheers
Carl Hibbard

Roger de Coverly
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Re: New broadcast model for World Championship Match

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:17 am

Andrew Murray-Watson wrote:Roger,
I am not sure how Agon can be fairly described as a parasite if we are giving chess websites the chance to make money from our investment in the sport.
You are asking them NOT to continue to supply the added value for which they have built up an audience by supplying their standard coverage of analysis and commentary.

Live chess coverage goes back more than twenty years, nearly forty years if you include Teletext. It's a market that Agon seeks to take advantage of, but it's not one it's built.

At the most basic level, you want the coverage to be equivalent to 1970s Teletext. So switch on a device, navigate to a page and the moves so far are listed.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: New broadcast model for World Championship Match

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:22 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Andrew Murray-Watson wrote:The premium pay-per-view broadcast, that will cost $15 for the whole match, or about the same price as a cinema ticket
Firstly, it would seem cinema tickets are more expensive in the USA than they are in the UK. :)
To distract from the main point of the thread (and Alex, you may want to clarify that you presumably aren't speaking in any official capacity on behalf of the ECF?), the right comparison with cinema tickets would be between London and New York. Outside of big cities like that, cinema tickets can vary a lot in price.

My rough research (a couple of minutes of Googling) suggests that Birmingham cinema tickets are £8.50 (Birmingham New Street Odeon, peak time adult ticket) while in London you can pay £13.50 somewhere like Richmond (having checked other ticket prices in London, I now see that Richmond cinema goers seem to be overcharged!). London seems to be on average around £12, which at current exchange rates is around $15. Maybe that is more due to recent currency fluctuations, though.

More: 1; 2; 3 (that last one is an average across all concessions, so quite misleading).

Alistair Campbell
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Re: New broadcast model for World Championship Match

Post by Alistair Campbell » Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:41 pm

A minor point, but how is Agon pronounced? (I don't think I've ever heard anyone talk about it in real life).

Paul Dargan
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Re: New broadcast model for World Championship Match

Post by Paul Dargan » Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:50 pm

This looks like a truly awful deal - which isn;t a huge surprise. most people still contend that the actual moves are public domain. All of the usual suspects i hope will want to provide their own commentary team - in which case rhey cannot take the widget given the t's and c's attached.

Frankly this just looks like a sham to try and shore-up Agon's probably/hopefully bogus cl;aims to copyright.

Let's hope the major players ignore this and see it for the distraction it is.

Paul

Graham Borrowdale
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Re: New broadcast model for World Championship Match

Post by Graham Borrowdale » Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:57 pm

Alistair Campbell wrote:A minor point, but how is Agon pronounced? (I don't think I've ever heard anyone talk about it in real life).
Sounds like a gonner, or for football fans in North London, a Gooner.

Chris Rice
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Re: New broadcast model for World Championship Match

Post by Chris Rice » Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:22 pm

Q&A on World Chess's broadcast policy.
https://worldchess.com/2016/10/17/a-qa- ... st-rights/

Roger de Coverly
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Re: New broadcast model for World Championship Match

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:39 pm

Chris Rice wrote:Q&A on World Chess's broadcast policy.
from which wrote:In each case, the broadcaster has the sole right to broadcast the sporting events and that attracts advertising because the companies know they have a large audience.
In other sports, websites are not prohibited from providing a live text commentary of the event as it takes place. In this context a list of the moves played is equivalent to a cricket scorecard.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/ ... ve-cricket

The Guardian offers similar text based coverage for football and rugby.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: New broadcast model for World Championship Match

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:20 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Chris Rice wrote:Q&A on World Chess's broadcast policy.
from which wrote:In each case, the broadcaster has the sole right to broadcast the sporting events and that attracts advertising because the companies know they have a large audience.
In other sports, websites are not prohibited from providing a live text commentary of the event as it takes place. In this context a list of the moves played is equivalent to a cricket scorecard.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/ ... ve-cricket

The Guardian offers similar text based coverage for football and rugby.
The assumption is that those sites don't have to pay for being allowed to do this (presuming that this could even feasibly be restricted). Is that assumption correct? There are restrictions (due to betting syndicates) on live transmission of tennis and cricket results, maybe in other sports as well.

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