The latest postmortem!
Of all the great mysteries in our surfing world, the question “How many people actually watch professional surfing?” is chief. It is more confounding than “What really happened to Mike Boyum?” More perplexing than “Where are Miki Dora’s alleged millions of dollars?” Because “How many people actually watch professional surfing?”
Well, however many people actually watch professional surfing just jumped by 25% after the World Surf League annulled its exclusivity deal with Facebook Live and shall we read the newest, just released postmortem together?
It would be silly not to and let us turn to digital industry website Digiday for the latest.
Last year the World Surf League signed an exclusive two-year digital distribution deal with Facebook in an effort to grow its audience around the world. A year later — and a year early — the WSL has ended that deal’s exclusivity and has seen its audience around the world grow.
In 2019 the number of viewers tuning into the live broadcasts of the WSL’s professional surfing competitions online and on TV has increased by more than 25% compared to last year, according to WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt. That viewership increase appears to be less a referendum on Facebook’s live-streaming service, which the WSL continues to use to broadcast its events on a non-exclusive basis, and more an indication of how the league has worked to broaden its content and distribution mix in 2019, including the formation of an in-house studio to produce original programming, in order to broaden its audience.
There was also a limitation on the league’s ability to generate revenue from the Facebook Live streams. Facebook pays the WSL to air its events through Facebook Live, and the WSL is also able to sell event sponsorships. But, while Facebook runs ads within some live and on-demand videos and shares the revenue with the media companies and creators, that wasn’t an option for the WSL. Facebook does not allow ads to run within live sports broadcasts, according to a Facebook spokesperson.
“We were happy to collectively rework the partnership with World Surf League. Doing so enabled us to serve different audiences with different viewing experiences, including one on Facebook Watch where fans can watch together in a highly interactive and social environment,” said the Facebook spokesperson in an emailed statement.
You should read the entire report here but let’s get back to that 25% number. Does it mean that the World Surf League has had 25% growth overall this year or that literally the 837 people who watched professional surfing on Facebook Live (the average number floating in the corner of those broadcast) has grown by 25%?
Also, does anyone you know use Facebook Watch where fans can watch together in a highly interactive and social environment?
It sounds very wonderful. Like our own analog “Comment Live” feature except with data mining and modern technology.
Also, “What ever happened to the brand Analog?”
That is the second greatest mystery in our surfing world.