Case Study: Online Fight Channel—Niche Sport Webcasting That Pays
About a year ago, I wrote an article for Streaming Media about advertising models and the sustainability of online video publishing, given the scale of real-world revenue possible through advertising. I have always had concerns that the ad revenue in the streaming business is often too low (for small audience streaming) to support the production and distribution of quality content.
At the time, I found only a couple of companies that were profitable from ad revenues. Given the plethora of services out there, it is still a concern that a lot of the infrastructures have been built with a hope that revenues will come. Sustainability is often, seemingly, only an afterthought.
I have always been aware that sport delivery online faces far fewer challenges than many other types of content, mainly because the value of sport content is high enough initially to often support pay-per-view or underwritten sponsorship, regardless of the advertising, and the content itself has a very short "tail"-meaning that individual events lose their value so quickly that the piracy problems faced by the movie and music industries have a far lesser impact on sport content.
That said, it is still not inexpensive to film and produce content of any type: sport requires frequent and geographically "available" production teams-even if the cost of production is small compared to a film shoot or the production of an album.
Accordingly, it was a delight to pick up on the progress of a personal contact, Gus Oliveira of Online Fight Channel (www.onlinefightchannel .com), an online portal providing a range of information services about all aspects of the sport.
The service provides news, contact details and information from right across the ju-jitsu world, and-in the way that many niche interest web services work-keeps its overheads down by relying on feeds of information from local enthusiasts (although it is tightly edited so it avoids becoming a directionless UGC service).
The really interesting element is its use and production of video. In this community there are many masters of the sport, and very often, the masters leverage their success in the arena to build schools and training programmes as their own means to survive.