Why streaming was likely the right move...

Discussion in 'NLL News and Rumors' started by Vin, May 17, 2017.

  1. Vin

    Vin Well-Known Member

    For a long time, many of us here had the attitude that if the NLL wasn't on TV, then it was a joke league or something to that effect.

    Yet, the reality is that TV sports viewership is in decline, but viewership over streaming is increasing. About 2 or 3 weeks ago, ESPN laid-off over 100 sports journalists. Now, they make a paradigm shift with a restructuring in their programming recognizing that reality. (Below)

    It is prescient that the NLL abandoned the pursuit of broadcast/cable television in which it was like a mouse in a maze looking for cheese that was not there. ("You know, you're never gonna catch the dragon.")

    As to the quality of NLLTV and/or whether the NLL should broadcast via OTT streaming, like it does with NLLTV, or hook-up with a streaming service like Amazon or Twitter are definitely questions for debate. However, it seems that the NLL's pursuit of streaming was the right move even if it takes a few years for that to become clearly self-evident.


    ESPN Is Betting on Big Personalities to Restore Its Fortunes
    MAY 16, 2017

    Just weeks after ESPN laid off about 100 journalists and on-air commentators, the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” unveiled a new programming slate on Tuesday filled with big personalities but short on the kind of highlight shows that for many years were the foundation of the network.

    The revamped lineup underscores just how much the changing media landscape has unsettled even the world’s most powerful sports company. Once the undisputed king of sports programming, ESPN must now contend with companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter, which not only offer statistics and highlights at the click of a button but are also increasingly offering the games themselves.

    And in a world where viewers can catch a must-see play on Facebook or stream an entire football game on Twitter, who needs a traditional highlight show like “SportsCenter” that focuses on highlights and updates like player injuries and roster moves?

    “We at ESPN are optimists,” John Skipper, ESPN’s president, said on Tuesday at the network’s annual presentation to advertisers. “Of course, the current environment forces us to be realists as well as optimists.”

    So ESPN is shaking things up.

    The theme was a bet on the power of the network’s personalities. ESPN formally announced several new shows — including a three-hour morning block with the longtime ESPN host Mike Greenberg, and one that will feature the commentators Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre. In an apparent effort to draw viewers to “SportsCenter,” its crown jewel since 1979, ESPN has retooled the show, tying time slots to specific anchors, including Kenny Mayne, one of the network’s best-known personalities. The show will not air at all from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. on ESPN’s main channel.

    The network has also signed new deals with other ESPN veterans, including Sage Steele and Hannah Storm, who will have a new role that includes hosting prime-time specials. Ms. Steele will host a three-hour morning version of “SportsCenter” on ESPN2.

    In an effort to meet viewers on their various devices, the network announced SportsCenter Right Now, short news updates online and twice hourly on ESPN during the day. During the presentation, Mr. Skipper highlighted ESPN’s inclusion in television packages offered by the likes of Sling TV and Hulu.

    ESPN’s efforts to adapt to the digital age are indicative of broader challenges facing cable television. Cord-cutting has accelerated sharply in the last quarter, with traditional cable and satellite providers losing 732,000 subscribers compared with a loss of 102,000 in the same period a year ago, according to research by Michael Nathanson, an analyst at MoffettNathanson. Lower-priced “skinny” online packages of channels have not made up the slack.

    National television advertising fell 1 percent in the last quarter, the most in nearly two years.

    The shifting media landscape has been particularly hard on ESPN. The network has dropped subscribers in the last several years even as sports programming rights have become more expensive. ESPN, for instance, recently paid $12 billion for a nine-year deal with the N.B.A.

    Disney, ESPN’s parent company, has staked some hope on an ESPN-branded subscription streaming service that it plans to introduce by the end of the year. But at least initially, the service will mostly stream sporting events for which ESPN owns the programming rights but does not televise, like certain tennis matches, cricket matches and various college sports.

    Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive, told analysts on an earnings call last week that the ESPN service would allow people to tailor subscriptions based on their interest — “a given sport or a given team or a given region in a given period of time.” He also said that ESPN had been working to improve its mobile apps, which he said have recently attracted a relatively healthy monthly audience of 23 million unique users.

    Wall Street, however, has looked mostly askance at Disney’s plans for ESPN. During the conference call, analysts bombarded Mr. Iger with questions about the network. The company’s share price is down 7 percent since the last week in April, mirroring an industrywide decline that was driven by fears of cord-cutting and weak ad sales.

    At the presentation on Tuesday, ESPN acknowledged its troubles, but did not let them detract from the over-the-top ritual of television’s yearly pitch to advertisers. As they nibbled on breakfast sandwiches and avocado toast, the network paraded stars across the stage at a Broadway theater in Midtown Manhattan. Serena Williams sat for a short interview with Mr. Greenberg to promote his morning studio show that will start next year. Paul Pierce, the former N.B.A. star, appeared (“I’m still pulling for the Celtics,” he said), as did many of the network’s biggest names, including Scott Van Pelt, Suzy Kolber, Jon Gruden and Mr. Mayne.

    Absent, of course, was the talent the network laid off last month, including the former N.F.L. players Trent Dilfer and Danny Kanell, the former baseball general manager Jim Bowden, and the longtime N.F.L. reporter Ed Werder. Mr. Skipper was not available to talk to reporters after the presentation.

    But while the network threw out the occasional statistic — Mr. Skipper said ESPN’s prime-time audience was up 15 percent in the first quarter and digital products reached more than 100 million people — the program lacked the torrent of sliced-and-diced numbers that often invade such presentations.

    ESPN was, for the most part, in sell mode, at times poking fun at the notion that television advertising was outdated.

    At one point, Mr. Mayne, fitted with feathery wings and calling himself the Angel of Advertising, soared onto the stage. After landing softly, he momentarily tussled with the wires that had suspended him.

    “It’s a metaphor for the strength of cable,” he said, as he freed himself. “Look at it that way.”
  2. RockStar

    RockStar Well-Known Member

    They did not really make the decision not to pursue TV.....in some ways it was thrust on them cruelly without mercy.

    The fact that they are not on TV now is not cause for shame, but the failures of 10 years ago might be
  3. AmericanRockFan

    AmericanRockFan Well-Known Member

    I don't mind the NLL going the streaming route, but I just think they need to focus on some sort of advertising campaign for it to try to get the casual sports fan to tune into the NLL.

    I said it a while back, but I'd really love to see some NLLTV subscription numbers, and see it broken down by NLL team area and also which non-NLL markets seem to have some sort of following (i.e., maybe there's actually subscribers in a non-NLL market like Texas, but those people happen to have relocated from an NLL market and are actually diehard fans of whatever team they left behind).

    The next step this league has to take, and I'm beating the dead horse, is to invest in better quality streams, put an app on SmartTVs, and have a pretty decent collection of on demand stuff whether that is old games or that YouTube show The Box (which actually is pretty solid; Tyson Geick has really improved as the season has gone on).
  4. chuckster

    chuckster Well-Known Member

    They could easily be on TV.....if they paid for the airtime like they did in previous years. They've been on ESPN, VS/NBCSN, CBS Sports, TSN, regional sports networks and just about everything in between. If the league was a ratings and advertisers draw, the networks would be working something out with the league. But it doesn't seem to be that way.
  5. RockStar

    RockStar Well-Known Member

    yes, they could pay for play, but, when pursuing that sort of thing they never seemed to pay the right channel enough money ti carry live games in a good timeslot.

    what I meant was that no media outlet will give this a chance.

    I am somewhat surprised......rights and production costs need not be large, and you have to hope more would watch this than poker, darts, some of the other dreck that passes for sports news........
  6. Andrew GEA

    Andrew GEA Guest

    For my family we cut cable in 2011 and so when I decided to give lacrosse a try in 2013 I loved the YouTube streams (although I did think it was embarrassing to only have YouTube streams).

    For the 2016 season when they stopped YouTube and went with TSN I couldn't watch it at all. I searched for some sort of sports streaming package but I couldn't get anything without already owning a cable package.

    NLLTV was like a god send to me because I could watch it again. Definitely though if ESPN had lax and the other main sports for a reasonable price I'd buy that package instead of NLLTV.
  7. Vin

    Vin Well-Known Member

    I strongly suspect that most people who purchased NLLTV did so buying the comprehensive league package as opposed to the team-specific package. The price difference is negligible really but you get so much more with the comprehensive package.

    I agree although I'd still buy NLLTV anyway; it's too good of a deal in a way. I don't actually watch it that much but think of it as "NLL Viewing Insurance"; if there is an NLL game that I absolutely want to see - like a Championship Game which I was previously denied more than once because of f*cking TV Everywhere - then I can see it.
  8. AmericanRockFan

    AmericanRockFan Well-Known Member

    Honestly, I can't imagine only purchasing the team only package. The price difference isn't enough to make that a good enough value.
  9. smurf666

    smurf666 Guest

    Still not a fan of the paywall setup when you're in "trying to grow this thing" mode. Would love to be a fly on the wall when they're quietly reviewing the real numbers - like how many people watched when they had it free on youtube, and, how many paid and unpaid watchers this year.......I tell you, if that Roku 'bug' is still around next year, they can F themselves, and, I'll buy the $30 stick and enjoy whatever else I can bleed from it in the form of entertainment.

    I would also be interested in how many watchers found their links through twitter. If they get good at getting those tweets in front of sports fans, they could conceivably get enough of a base that ad revenue becomes significant.

    If the twats are going to continue to limit the twitter to one game per week and otherwise maintain the paywall, I really think they should discount it a bit further to fans that have already bought in - offer the "team only" package to season ticket holders gratis, and then charge a small ~$15 premium to get the full package. Also, give each subscriber a few "complementary" two-game trial accounts that can be e-mailed, tweeted, or FB'ed to friends and acquaintances. More than once I have had someone say "where can I watch the game", and, I have to tell them the long and painful story about why the NLL SuX, and, they cannot watch it without giving someone their credit card no......
  10. Andrew GEA

    Andrew GEA Guest

    I like the refer a friend idea here . Would be sweet if they did a refer 10 people to buy nlltv subs and you get free tickets or a hat/t-shirt

    Edit: I usually invite everyone I can over if they want to watch the game or try out lacrosse.
  11. Vin

    Vin Well-Known Member

    It should be a league-wide policy that, with each season ticket bought, you get 2 (yes, 2) comprehensive subscriptions to NLLTV. This way, the STHer gets to stay engaged for away games, but also can give a friend or family a similar streaming experience. This gives them a hobby to share (the STHer's NLL fandom and the newbies freebie fandom). This helps promote the game to the new fan who then just might become a STHer themselves. Think of it like this: It's almost like BOGO, but it's not a comp ticket eating away at paid attendance. Instead, it's a season long marketing campaign.... and it really costs nothing because the point is that you are trying to introduce the game to a new potential fan who wouldn't be buying an NLLTV subscription anyway.
  12. I didn't subscribe but that is because I have Rush season tickets and all Rush road games are broadcast on television here in Saskatchewan (assuming your cable provider is SaskTel). Count me as old school, but not having a TV broadcaster makes you look minor league to me. When the Toronto Wolfpack, a brand new team, playing rugby league (a different version of rugby than normally played in North America) in a third tier English (as in England) based competition can find a TV partner, there is no reason the NLL cannot. Count me as someone who has only ever followed his team, so watching the rest of the league doesn't really make a difference to me. But I do think having the Champions Cup on TV is the only way new markets are going to be exposed to the product.

    Twitter is great, if you know the game is already there. But maybe I am just technologically impaired, but I can't seem to find a schedule for everything Twitter is showing live for a given week or month or whatever frequency they show things at. I have noticed when something is streaming live it pops up in a box in the corner on my laptop, but nothing shows on the App on my Android phone. So it is only driving existing fans to those platforms plus the people who happen to pop on to www.twitter.com during a game. For all I know maybe they show Taiwanese baseball live on Twitter. I'd tune in to check out a game, especially if Brothers Elephants are playing. But without a listing telling me that at 4 AM Eastern, that game is on, I won't know to look. However, with traditional TV, I can scroll through the menu on my guide and stumble across something. I can scroll through and at 2 PM Eastern discover that perhaps Sportsnet World is showing Gaelic Football live (sadly they aren't as my County Monaghan is playing and I want to see the game). So streaming is fine for existing fans, but you will never create new fans this way. Until one of the big four leagues in North America decides to go fully streaming (which they would be nuts to do with the fees networks pay for broadcasts), the casual sports fan will never take to watching games via Twitter.

    Again, I am old school and still bemoan the loss of video stores. Netflix does not have an easy interface for finding movies, I much prefer wandering through a store and seeing what catches my eye. I tend not to watch streaming services' original programming either (I still have two episodes left of the final season of Lilyhammer on Netflix and that has generated new episodes in about four years). So there is going to be a segment of people who are in the same boat as me. My Dad loves going to Rush games, he is my "other ticket" and he will watch the road games on TV and even listen to games on the radio. But to get him to watch a game on Twitter, never. He uses Facebook and Twitter as platforms for his business but they aren't recreational tools.

    If I were the NLL (and other sports leagues), I would have gone with Facebook Live instead of Twitter. Facebook Live is a far better interface and isn't a separate feed from the regular feed for whatever page. I highly enjoy watching LA Police chases (yes I am crazy), so I follow all the local LA channels on Facebook. Within the Facebook App, on my phone, it tells me when KNBC etc. has gone live. So I can pull up the stream and voila I have my white Bronco heading down the 5 freeway. Twitter has lots of notifications too and I get several on my phone everyday from ones I have set to notify me of each Tweet including the NLL. The Twitter App, has never told me that the NLL has gone live because they don't run the live streams via that account's feed. Since neither Twitter nor Facebook have paywalls, the NLL is not collecting any money directly from the viewer (I assume there must be a monetization somehow or there would be no reason for the NLL to do this), so either platform serves their needs. Besides since the already have their own streaming service, it isn't like there is a different feed being streamed via Twitter or that Twitter is running the streams. Much in the same way I watch KCAL police chases, the NLL could do the same on Facebook Live. Both platforms lack the ability to flip through a guide and find what is being streamed as best as I know, but by liking a page on Facebook, you by default turn on the Live notification on the App.

    But as I say if it were up to me the NLL would be seeking out television partners not using experimental media platforms to view their product.
    Tom Wersderfer likes this.
  13. fadlaxdad

    fadlaxdad Member

    I would like to know if the CBC has ever broadcast a lacrosse game? Canada's national summer sport and little to no attention on any of the national broadcasts. Hockey has dominated the Canadian sport media market for about 60-70 years now. Time for the CBC to stop licking it's wounds over losing HNIC and jump on the lacrosse train. This game has extraordinary cultural significance to Indigenous Canadians and I have to ask myself why is our national broadcaster not promoting it? I am going to be purposely provocative and say that the game of lacrosse is relegated to second or third class sport status in Canada because it is an Indigenous game and suffers the same social stigma that flows from discrimination that many Indigenous people experience in this country. We have an opportunity to promote Reconciliation with this great game...but no one else seems to realize it. Something needs to grab our national broadcaster's attention.
  14. RockStar

    RockStar Well-Known Member

    CBC picked up the 2006 wold championships......but it was on an upper tier digital channel called "CBC Classic Canada" or some other BS.

    CBC could be a wonderful media partner......accessible OTA everywhere in Canada and at least 60 miles into much of USA for that matter. On the first tier cable package everywhere in Canada. They also do a great job covering live sports. Real pros! final bonus, they stream everything for free, at least to Canadian IPs, and possibly to others

    the obvious problem is the NLL is a Winter Saturdays league, and there is no effing way that lacrosse bumps hockey, ever.

    if the Canadian teams accepted that at least one of them would run a Friday game in any given week, maybe with some Saturday or Sunday matinees mixed in, there might be a brilliant partnership with CBC available.
  15. Andrew GEA

    Andrew GEA Guest

    If there was interest it would be broadcasted, streaming is the way to go there's a reason why the big four got their own streaming apps it's because in 20 years tops cable is gone...
  16. dougm

    dougm Well-Known Member

  17. AmericanRockFan

    AmericanRockFan Well-Known Member

    "Averaged 344,000 viewers." I'm kinda curious to see if they're able to pinpoint what the peak viewership was, and if they are why don't they release that number?
  18. swami24

    swami24 Well-Known Member

    Begrudging, i now agree with the move to streaming. Crusty old IT guy finally coming around.
  19. Vin

    Vin Well-Known Member

    Thank you!

    Meanwhile, notice this thread and what I predicted...

    The Bloomberg article reiterated another earlier article of 25k subscribers.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
  20. smurf666

    smurf666 Guest

    i still want a confirmation of paid subscribers. I have no doubt there are 25k account holders because the first few weeks were no charge for registrants.

    I have some doubts that $25k pointed up the registration fee after the paywall was activated

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