Monday, March 27, 2017

Changes to our sports video coverage

Chris Davis - As we approach six years of serving the Pincher Creek area, we're having to take a close look at what's worked for our business and what hasn't, in order to right-size our efforts to a sustainable level.  Unfortunately, sports video to the level we've been doing it is unsustainable going forward.  Put simply, our policy towards sports video has to change.   We won't be eliminating it, but we will be reducing it considerably.  Even at that reduced level we expect to continue to provide more amateur sports video coverage than any other news outlet that we're aware of in the province.

At this point in time we are one of the most read publications in rural southern Alberta, averaging between 3000 to 6000 pageviews a day (currently averaging approximately 6000), but our revenue frankly does not represent that audience.  So we're having to make some tough choices.  Events video, specifically sports video, is the most expensive thing we do, in terms of time and equipment.  We've created and published  a total of 1634 videos in less than six years.   And people have watched more than 740,000 hours of our exclusive video content on just our YouTube page alone.  Revenue from Google for that has been minimal, below the threshold of noticeable really.  In the last month our videos were viewed 6497 times for a total of 17,430 minutes, and our adsense (Google) revenue for that was $3.96.  Sports videos are the majority of our videos, but are very rarely the most watched videos, analyzed singly in any given month.  As a basic rule of thumb, for every hour you see us at a sporting event we spend at least half an hour processing that video for public consumption.  Sports video has also been our single most expensive equipment cost every year.

We know a lot of you love the extensive video coverage, and we've been reluctant to cut back on it, but there's no market for it financially, not to the level we've been providing it.  Almost none of our revenue comes from sports video.  The sports parents who own businesses and who buy advertising by and large don't buy it from us.  The sports organizations that pay for professional photography don't engage our services.  The advertisers we do have for the most part don't value the sports video coverage the same way they value our other coverage.

We realise that many of our readers do value our sports coverage, which is still a very important semi-intangible, so let me reassure you that we will not be abandoning sports.  In fact, less video coverage will allow us to attend more sports events.  It will also allow us to get back to being more timely and comprehensive with our news and community coverage.

It has not been an easy decision to come to, but it's a necessary one.  We've been overdoing it.  We can't afford to overdo it anymore.

I was planning to include this as a component of an upcoming "State of the Voice", but because it is the biggest anticipated change to our coverage going forward, I thought it important to publish it as a stand-alone.


For those that truly want comprehensive video coverage of local sporting events we will now be offering it as a service.  For local sports we will be offering that service (depending on our availability) at the rate of $25/hr for a minimum of three hours, including basic processing, plus any costs related to the hard copy product (usb key, dvd, etc) and shipping when applicable.  We offer significant discounts for pre-purchased bulk advertising, and we will apply that principle to sports video if it turns out there's actually a demand for it.  "Local" in this context includes Pincher Creek, Piikani, Lundbreck, Glenwood, and Hill Spring.  Travel time and expenses for events outside of those areas will be extra.

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