Friday, November 18, 2005

CurlTV... at Olympic Trials?

A feature on David Nedohin's CurlTV in today's Ottawa Sun.

The Curling News sat next to the CurlTV guys – and their mounds of equipment – at the first Slam of the season, and we also caught up with Nedohin between games. He echoed a few things mentioned in the Sun story, and more.

• They've spent an extra $20,000 on video editing suites, to meet the escalating demand for archived games. In fact, CurlTV initially thought the live broadcasts would be the main driver of business; turns out it is the on-demand aspect. Customers even want archived games burned to DVD and mailed to them.

• The half-hour TV magazine show airs its first episode on Sportsnet Nov. 27, and offers a sneak peek at Newfie hero Brad Gushue.

Subscriptions, while growing, have been slower than expected. This prompted The Curling News to commiserate, and rail on about the inherent "cheapness" of curling fans, and their unwillingness to shell out to support their sport's trade. For example, their willingness to spend endless thousands of dollars on a sport like golf while refusing to buy a new pair of curling shoes, a broom, a subscription, or even pay their annual dues without first flipping out over a 2% increase. Seems like the only thing people are interested in this fall is... controversial athlete fundraising calendars.

Yeah: we're talking to you, curling cheapo. Any comments?

• Nedohin confirmed a proposal has gone to CCA about CurlTV streaming morning-draw action live from Halifax. Of course, the decision rests with the rights-holder, CBC... the association is merely forwarding the ask. CBC were the ones who allowed TSN back into the broadcast fold this fall; will they be similarly magnanimous for CurlTV?

In other Friday news, the CCA replaced their departed Brier hotelier with a new sponsor; the forgotten Canadian championship, The Mixed, starts tomorrow in Whitehorse; and Quebec's unstoppable Camille Villeneuve is at it again (see the January 2004 issue of The Curling News for Adam Daifallah's feature story). Amazing.


Dean Gemmell said...

I'm not too cheap to subscribe. I will as soon as it's Mac-friendly.

You're right about curlers being cheap on equipment versus sports like golf or skiing. For some reason, curlers – even many elite curlers – have always had a curious pride in their beat-up shoes or their pants that have a hole in the knee. But I think the tide is changing thanks to things like the Performance Brush and new clothes from people like Mondetta. When equipment looks cool in a pro shop, it helps. Don't know what to say about dues and subscriptions. Club dues remain an unbelievable value compared to other sports.

OttTriGuy said...

It just goes to show you that good marketing sells product.

It's a chicken vs egg problem: curling equipment manufacturers (and news purveyors) don't have a lot of extra dough to spend on marketing, but consumers (not just curlers) don't tend to buy product until the marketing message tells them they need to. And it's a gradual process, as we see with TCN, CurlTV, and makers of the new brooms, for a few examples. Spend a small amount this year - get a few more customers; spend a little more next year - get a slightly larger percentage return; etc.

It's all about traction, and it is happening, but slowly.