It was June 2017 that I wrote my first article for this site, a piece comparing the back three defensive systems of the All Blacks and the Wallabies and why one system encouraged counterattack and the other made it almost impossible.
While it wasn’t intended to be anything more than a one-off observation piece, it was great fun to put together, and some 25 or so articles later I am still here, admittedly as a permanent guest, as I share the Groucho Marx view of club membership.
The rugby discussion community that had been established by the then Allanthus, Diggercane and Harry J, professional writers Brett McKay, Spiro Zavos and Nicholas Bishop, and the likes of Chook, Rugby Tragic and PeterK among many others made The Roar an interesting and largely civil place exchange rugby ideas.
I found that using video clips from the games aided in the explanation of whatever points I was trying to make as well as removing any conjecture about what had actually happened on the field. Find the game somewhere on the net, buy some download and video editing software, an hour’s practice and you are banging out video clips like a good ‘un.
Until of course YouTube start sending emails saying the owner of the rugby copyright is demanding the said video clips be taken down as they don’t want anyone else monetising their copyright ownership.
This last sentence really annoyed.
I don’t care of the videos have to come down, as it’s just a place to store them while the article is up, but the monetising bit, especially from an organisation that has shown such little imagination with our great code, is just laughable.
It would have taken all of two seconds to figure out this had nothing to do with monetising. No followers (four, I think – you need to get out more guys); closed to comments, so there was no attempt at interaction on the site; no advertising (obviously, but probably worth noting as some are proving a bit slow in this space); and never once has a link to this YouTube channel ever been tweeted, instagrammed, emailed or whatever else one does in the ‘look at me, I’m over here’ era.
In short, the only outlet for these clips was The Roar’s rugby pages.
That channel, now gone, was never anything more than a storage box.
Actually, instead of monetising SANZAAR’s content for my own benefit, I pay a subscription for the rugby service in two countries despite knowing apps and a VPN could save me one of these in full. Kayo also gets a run out of my dependants. I choose to support rugby to the full.
Surely one of the roles of the sport’s content owner is to encourage the spread of our game by any means, to try to think of it as an investment in the future rather than an exercise in trying to hit your numbers this quarter. Or is that asking too much?
Any medium that gets our game talked about, looked at or promoted in wider circles must surely be a good thing, or is it simply easier to run around slamming the door on potential game growth like a petulant child wanting its ball back?
Rugby content is gold, but not in the lineal way SANZAAR think about it. Try to think about how we get the game talked about or, even better still, how this content can be used for coaching examples at junior levels. Last season in a pub before a Highlanders game I overheard a conversation a couple of tables away in which one guy, a junior rugby coach, had found a clip online of Sam Cane knocking over a whole bunch of Welsh inside backs for fun and had sent it to his junior players. Later I checked the channel. Most of its clips would be around the 200-view mark, but the Sam Cane tackling video was up near 1000 – and, yes, I have had to take that down too. God forbid someone gets to see it without permission years after the Test was played.
So here’s an idea to consider.
Have a website owned by SANZAAR on which, say, two weeks after a match all rugby content can be posted and then downloaded by the general public forever.
If you want to have a little vertical integration of revenue streams – look it up, it’s really cool – get a hold of some video editing software and a downloader and host them on your site for purchase. You could even provide a service where amateur writers and rugby coaches could save their clips on the same site.
Guess what? I would even pay you to use this service despite paying you three times for the same content already.
Have a look out the window, guys. It’s time to get a little lateral with how we think!