Stream EPL matches online so everyone can watch them

pernunz Roar Rookie

By pernunz, pernunz is a Roar Rookie

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    As a 20 year old football fan, I’ve been able to experience the revolution of the internet affecting football, and I recently asked myself the question, is illegal streaming a good thing for the game?

    Back in the days before streaming, I was a user on the now defunct forum, soccerpulse.

    Before I was able to get an internet plan that allowed streaming, and before my parents caved in to getting Foxtel, I relied on that for getting footage of goals 15 minutes after they happened.

    I was incredibly grateful for the work that people did there, to provide highlights for matches that I was unable to see.

    It originally started this way, then I started downloading the BBC Match of the Day highlights in order to get full exposure.

    On the one hand, I felt some guilt, but I justified my activities because at my age, there was no other way to obtain such footage, and I couldn’t go into any pub to watch the games.

    Before the world of streaming came so popular, my parents got Foxtel, and it was the greatest thing that happened to me with regards to football.

    I was finally able to watch entire matches live, in a decent resolution, with English commentary. It was a godsend.

    I even contributed to the forum I was once a part of, interrupting my own football watching enjoyment to put the goals on the internet.

    However, as time wore on, I grew more mature and selfish in my views.

    Why should I sacrifice my own time and money to give people access to footage for free? I understood when I was younger, but when I got older, I didn’t want to be a part of the free-rider effect.

    There were many users on the forum from countries that couldn’t get access to the matches legally, and it is those people I feel sorry for, and who benefit the most from streaming.

    However, now with streaming, for every “big” game, it is incredibly easy for anyone to gain access to streams of matches, in decent quality as well.

    For followers of lesser teams, often streams are much lower quality with foreign commentary.

    Even now, I am guilty of occasionally streaming from the internet, when the brilliant invention of Viewers Choice fails to show my beloved West Ham. It is a chore watching it on my computer, and I would much rather watch it on TV, because its simply a much more pleasing and full experience.

    So, from these facts, I propose a new system for the Premier League to implement.

    Make the matches (or even a select few) allowed to be streamed online officially. However, in doing so, the streams should be incredibly low resolution. Not so you can’t watch the match, but so that it is useful as a last resort, but nothing more.

    The Premier League can then charge advertising revenue through the streams.

    Because people are getting the game for free, they should have no qualms with adverts popping up on the bottom (or top) of the screen, and maybe even the odd product flashing on the screen when the ball goes out.

    The “illegal” viewers in this case may tolerate such a stream, but ultimately, they will realise that it is an unpleasant experience to watch.

    I would not trade watching the game on Foxtel for such a service, but it would assist in exposure for the league to audiences previously out of reach. And also gain them additional revenue.

    The ones who are currently streaming and making money from the exercise at the moment would not be able to compete with an official stream.

    Half the battle is finding a place to watch the match online, and unless they can offer high-quality streams (which would struggle on some internet plans), then they will simply cease to exist.

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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • Roar Guru

      November 13th 2009 @ 6:28am
      Freud of Football said | November 13th 2009 @ 6:28am | ! Report

      Why would they need to show it in low-res? If you are going to do it then do it properly.

      What all TV-Companies need to do is realise that these “illegal” practices are here to stay and rather than trying to just sue everyone that they find (often individuals like yourself, sitting at home being nice enough to stream for others) breaching their rules, actually joining in and legalising it. Look at iTunes, Napster was huge before someone came in and made it legal.

      ITV in England, STV in Scotland and SAT1 in Germany all do a pretty good job of streaming and SAT1 in particular of monetizing their services. When you enter their stream you have to watch two 30 second adverts for example and I don’t mind that at all, particularly as their streams are generally at around 700 Kbps which is pretty good quality and completely legal.

      Sometimes going to a pub is just too inconvenient and not all the games one wants to see are broadcast live, hence streaming is there as a low-cost solution, tv companies, advertisers and fans should all make the most of it.

    • Roar Guru

      November 13th 2009 @ 9:01am
      AndyRoo said | November 13th 2009 @ 9:01am | ! Report

      The AFC allready have a product, but I don’t think it’s available in Australia or any of the markets where the TV rights for those leagues have been sold.

      It shows A league, K league, J league and CSL matches. I have never seen it in action though.

      It does seem the way fo the future but my only concern is the loss of the shared experience. If we have 1 million options then the audience will be very fragmented. Although I guess the big sports will still attract the audiences because they will have the existing quality and production values.

      • November 13th 2009 @ 10:26am
        Gibbo said | November 13th 2009 @ 10:26am | ! Report

        fragmented audience is an interesting point, although i guess it’s more a problem for the corporations trying to make money.

        either way, the streaming on the internet is the future

    • November 13th 2009 @ 10:36am
      Shay said | November 13th 2009 @ 10:36am | ! Report

      Most competitions are like that – relying on “old media” and the interests of big backers while remaining closed to the possibilities of the internet. Why not sell TV rights to one channel and the internet rights to another (or even do it themselves), including live streaming? Sure, that may mean they make less for their TV rights, but they would more than make that up through advertising and subscriptions. I live in China, and spent the winter watching lots of NRL and AFL online illegally, because there was no legal way I could watch it. If there were a reliable, legal feed online, I’d happily pay 50-100 bucks or more a season to watch it, and that could be money going directly to the NRL, without another company taking their cut. I couldn’t even watch Bigpond’s highlights online after the game, because they are blocked outside Australia. Why? What a waste!

      Quality is getting better now, and a decent broadband connection can be as good as TV quality – just have a look at TVAnts some time. I hate watching pirated feeds, partly for moral reasons and partly because I often spend the first 20 minutes of the game hunting around for a good signal, and often have to change in the middle of a game when the feed gets blocked or exceeds its viewer limit. So come on guys, start embracing the new media instead of criminalising it, and you’ll be surprised at how many people will jump at the chance.

    • November 13th 2009 @ 12:37pm
      25yr old said | November 13th 2009 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

      I think the biggest problem I have with this piece is that you admit to staying at home on a Saturday night and watching streaming of a West Ham game through your computer!

      As a 20yr old male, that sure sounds like a boring night in – I know its Saturday night because Viewer’s choice will always be able to provide for West Ham games on a Sunday.

      I can only hope you’re placing bets on these games – then I could understand why you’d want to spend 2 hours watching a game on a computer when most young people are out socialising with others in the same age.

      Very strange way to spend a Saturday night – presumably you don’t invite the guys around to watch streaming West Ham matches on your computer?

      One thing I would add about West Ham is that they are basically insolvent and should be forced into administration and docked 10pts for cheating the system bby paying inflated wages and transfer fees they couldn’t afford. Its a disgrace that the people of Iceland (who are suffering enough from the travails of their banking) are essentially paying the multi-million dollar salaries of a bunch of West Ham players.

      Absolute disgrace.

      But back to your point, of course matches should be streamed through the Internet – and they will be, all it requires is a little bit of patience for all the legal issues to be worked through, and it will happen. Won’t be long either.

      • November 13th 2009 @ 1:38pm
        pernunz said | November 13th 2009 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

        The occasions that Viewers Choice fails me is in fact on Sunday nights when Foxtel only shows 2 (or 3 if we’re lucky, like last week) and the other matches usually involve big teams, not Saturday nights.

        As for being docked points, are you a Sheffield United fan by any chance? That’s the only possibly excuse for your petulant post. How can you say that a team should be docked points for paying inflated wages and transfer fees? At the time, we could afford them, but then the greatest financial meltdown since the Great Depression hit.

        No-ones happy with our financial situation. But the fact is, the banks don’t want to sell West Ham for anything short of (approximately) 100 million pounds, and are simply burdening us with more debt.

        • Roar Guru

          November 14th 2009 @ 12:49am
          Freud of Football said | November 14th 2009 @ 12:49am | ! Report

          “As for being docked points, are you a Sheffield United fan by any chance?” – Man United fan here saying West Ham should most definately have been docked points for the Tevez saga.

          Don’t let anyone tell you anything else, West Ham officials knew just how dodgy the deal that bought Tevez and Mascherano to Upton Park was, they deserved automatic relegation for knowingly breaching the rules the way they did.

          • November 14th 2009 @ 8:29am
            pernunz said | November 14th 2009 @ 8:29am | ! Report

            I’m not saying the deal was legal. It was quite clearly illegal, and looking back on it now, perhaps being relegated would have saved us from being in the position we are at the moment. Of course we should have been docked points, but we weren’t, and then we had to cough up mega bucks to Sheffield United for the idiotic ruling that was given. What we did was disgraceful, and possibly no better than what Chelsea did with Gael Kakuta. Thank goodness 3rd party ownership has been sorted out since then.

            What 25yrold said was that we should be docked points because of who our owners currently are (A consortium of Icelandic banks) and for paying inflated wages. That is just plain crap.

    • November 13th 2009 @ 1:41pm
      pernunz said | November 13th 2009 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

      The original title of this article was to create a debate about whether illegal streaming was good for the game, but the reviewers changed the title.

      The problem I see with internet streaming being the major source of watching matches is the infrastructure behind it. In Australia, to watch a match in high quality, you are probably taking up to 2gb of downloads to watch a full game, with the internet pricing structure like it is here (unlike in the US, where you pay for speed, and no matter what speed you buy, you get unlimited downloads) it will be very hard to work through this internationally.

    • November 13th 2009 @ 7:22pm
      clayton said | November 13th 2009 @ 7:22pm | ! Report

      hey guys – i am signed up to the AFC service –

      you can`t watch footy from the country you are in. I live in Japan atm – I can watch the a-league. If you are in oz, you can`t watch the a-league, but you can catch j-league, k-league and the korean league.

      a bit of a fuzzy stream, but i am happy enough with what i paid for it.

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