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View Full Version : What's wrong with the pool video scene?


CreeDo
05-16-2007, 09:27 PM
This was sort of related to the recent arguing about the big batch of pool videos uploaded to youtube. You could argue about that stuff forever and get nowhere, and it's hard to care about what people say in those kinds of arguments... you could visit a forum about almost anything and see the same old points being made.

But I do want to hear some opinions on these topics -

First, could accustats be doing things better? I'm not out to attack them, I love them and have given them my money, but I still feel like they should be pushing to make some changes to their business model and it's not happening.

- They've been very slow to adapt to DVD, which has been around over 10 years...nobody wants VCR tapes that degrade. A lot of us want to just throw away our VCRs.

- I can't buy all their old stuff (at least not from their site) so it's kind of inevitable it gets shared by either copying tapes or via p2p filesharing online. I can't call that stealing. How else am I gonna see that ancient but excellent jim rempe video or whatever?

- Their pricing scheme needs work. There should be a constant selection of cheap stuff... maybe the remaining tapes they need to unload as they transition to dvd =) If I have 10 spare bucks in my pocket, I'd cheerfully give it to them if they sold anything for 10 bucks ...even the bottom two guys in an old 32 player tournament. But they don't. They should automatically discount old events or tapes with lesser known players. They could do a lot with package deals. For example sell me the complete maine event for 150 bucks (they could prolly fit it on 3 dvds and keep nice quality) and I'll prolly dig deep and save for it, because that's a pretty deep discount. But if I have to buy each tape separately I'm just gonna maybe get 3 with the top names and ignore cj wiley or vlahos or whoever (even tho I'm sure I'd be missing some great playing). They could take 10 of their least popular videos, cram them onto a DVD with reduced quality, and I'll pay 50 bucks for it. You don't even have to tell me who's playing. I'm sold.

- There are other ways to make money from videos - it might be too high end to expect cable packages and pay per view, but there's nothing wrong with paid limited-viewing website downloads, or a subscription service to a pool video server that works like youtube. For that matter set up live streaming video of current tournaments. They do this in japan for video game tournaments, and it generates tremendous excitement and their DVD sales figures would make your mouth drop. Or offer products with ads for less (or for free). It works for TV.

I think they don't move in these directions because there's little competition or alternative... I also wanted to say that I'm little mad at them because they made what sounds like a pretty lousy offer for the rights to film this year's 14.1 world championship (correct me if I'm wrong) and they got turned down...and now there's no hope of footage. I wish they could have bent a little.


---

A whole 'nother topic... what the hell is wrong with televised pool? At least in the USA? What I mean is, why is it that if someone says "hey there's pool on ESPN 2" I absolutely know it will be allison fisher playing karen corr in 9 ball... or else mike massey vs whoever in trick shot magic. It's the same damn thing almost every time. The most popular game in the USA is still 8 ball but if you put a gun to my head and gave me 10 years of TV guide back issues, I couldn't find a single televised match. Nevermind straight pool and other awesome games. The way someone explained it to me is that the men tried to negotiate a deal with ESPN, and they refused to be flexible on the money or whatever, while the women were smart about it... and that's why today you see like 5 women's events to every televised men's event. Not that I mind seeing women play, but I can't help thinking SOMEthing is wrong with this picture. And why do they keep assuming viewers are complete idiots and can't understand other games? Anyone who's even vaguely interested in pool knows the rules for 8 ball. And straight pool isn't all that complex... 1 ball, 1 point, any order, any pocket. When they run out of balls to shoot at, they rerack to make more available. I'll buy that a lot of people will consider it boring, but there's definitely a niche who would go out of their way to watch. If I can find dominoes on the tube, I should be able to see straight pool for christ's sake.

K done ranting.

edit: I almost forgot - those looking to save youtube or google video or whatever, you can also just go to www.keepvid.com ... then you get a direct link for the actual video. That other site is neat but goes through the time and hassle of actually converting it. Keepvid keeps it in the same format as before so you don't have to wait on them to transfer it to their site and convert it. The original format is .flv, which you can play with Riva flv player and some other stuff.

Russ Chewning
05-16-2007, 09:43 PM
This was sort of related to the recent arguing about the big batch of pool videos uploaded to youtube. You could argue about that stuff forever and get nowhere, and it's hard to care about what people say in those kinds of arguments... you could visit a forum about almost anything and see the same old points being made.

But I do want to hear some opinions on these topics -

First, could accustats be doing things better? I'm not out to attack them, I love them and have given them my money, but I still feel like they should be pushing to make some changes to their business model and it's not happening.

- They've been very slow to adapt to DVD, which has been around over 10 years...nobody wants VCR tapes that degrade. A lot of us want to just throw away our VCRs.

- I can't buy all their old stuff (at least not from their site) so it's kind of inevitable it gets shared by either copying tapes or via p2p filesharing online. I can't call that stealing. How else am I gonna see that ancient but excellent jim rempe video or whatever?

- Their pricing scheme needs work. There should be a constant selection of cheap stuff... maybe the remaining tapes they need to unload as they transition to dvd =) If I have 10 spare bucks in my pocket, I'd cheerfully give it to them if they sold anything for 10 bucks ...even the bottom two guys in an old 32 player tournament. But they don't. They should automatically discount old events or tapes with lesser known players. They could do a lot with package deals. For example sell me the complete maine event for 150 bucks (they could prolly fit it on 3 dvds and keep nice quality) and I'll prolly dig deep and save for it, because that's a pretty deep discount. But if I have to buy each tape separately I'm just gonna maybe get 3 with the top names and ignore cj wiley or vlahos or whoever (even tho I'm sure I'd be missing some great playing). They could take 10 of their least popular videos, cram them onto a DVD with reduced quality, and I'll pay 50 bucks for it. You don't even have to tell me who's playing. I'm sold.

- There are other ways to make money from videos - it might be too high end to expect cable packages and pay per view, but there's nothing wrong with paid limited-viewing website downloads, or a subscription service to a pool video server that works like youtube. For that matter set up live streaming video of current tournaments. They do this in japan for video game tournaments, and it generates tremendous excitement and their DVD sales figures would make your mouth drop. Or offer products with ads for less (or for free). It works for TV.

I think they don't move in these directions because there's little competition or alternative... I also wanted to say that I'm little mad at them because they made what sounds like a pretty lousy offer for the rights to film this year's 14.1 world championship (correct me if I'm wrong) and they got turned down...and now there's no hope of footage. I wish they could have bent a little.


---

A whole 'nother topic... what the hell is wrong with televised pool? At least in the USA? What I mean is, why is it that if someone says "hey there's pool on ESPN 2" I absolutely know it will be allison fisher playing karen corr in 9 ball... or else mike massey vs whoever in trick shot magic. It's the same damn thing almost every time. The most popular game in the USA is still 8 ball but if you put a gun to my head and gave me 10 years of TV guide back issues, I couldn't find a single televised match. Nevermind straight pool and other awesome games. The way someone explained it to me is that the men tried to negotiate a deal with ESPN, and they refused to be flexible on the money or whatever, while the women were smart about it... and that's why today you see like 5 women's events to every televised men's event. Not that I mind seeing women play, but I can't help thinking SOMEthing is wrong with this picture. And why do they keep assuming viewers are complete idiots and can't understand other games? Anyone who's even vaguely interested in pool knows the rules for 8 ball. And straight pool isn't all that complex... 1 ball, 1 point, any order, any pocket. When they run out of balls to shoot at, they rerack to make more available. I'll buy that a lot of people will consider it boring, but there's definitely a niche who would go out of their way to watch. If I can find dominoes on the tube, I should be able to see straight pool for christ's sake.

K done ranting.

edit: I almost forgot - those looking to save youtube or google video or whatever, you can also just go to www.keepvid.com ... then you get a direct link for the actual video. That other site is neat but goes through the time and hassle of actually converting it. Keepvid keeps it in the same format as before so you don't have to wait on them to transfer it to their site and convert it. The original format is .flv, which you can play with Riva flv player and some other stuff.

Creedo,

You make some awesome points. IMO, Accu-Stats DOES need to change it's business model. What a lot of people on here don't seem to remember, is that I am the one who about 4 years or so ago, ripped Accu-Stats upand down for not adapting to the DVD format. I even advocated a complete boycott of the product until they moved over to DVD. Note: I NEVER advocated "stealing" their product.. Just a boycott if the community's needs were not being served.

I am very much in favor of Accu-Stats adapting to some online delivery system. And, like you, I believe Pat is doing things the way he's always done them, because he has no real competition.

But just because people want Pat to deliver the product online, does not give people the right to steal the product. If you want things to change, advocate a boycott until he changes things.

A few years ago, at least I tried to galvanize action along the proper channels, i.e. a boycott. The people who choose to steal the product rather than to do things the proper way are simple thieves, IMHO.

Just stealing the product is more likely to put Pat out of business. If people want him to change the business, call him and TELL him so, and TELL him how much you are willing to spend per year on online delivery. Give him IDEAS rather than rob him blind.

Honestly, the man just might not know how to go about making the transition in a cost efficient manner. Unless one of you is willing to start up a competing company, then you better damn well start cooperating with Pat, less you drive him out of business, and before you know it, there will be NO way to buy match videos of the upcoming US Open and DCC.

Russ

CreeDo
05-16-2007, 10:40 PM
I know I prolly sound like I'm advocating stealing but I'm really not. It's good you want to do the honorable thing but I think you're on the wrong track: even a marginally effective boycott will do more to put him out of business than watching some youtube videos. The difference between the two is I might not buy tapes because he can see grainy versions of it online, but I definitely won't buy tapes if I go for a boycott.

I know the thinking is that a big sudden drop in sales will spur action while a steady invisible leak in profits won't... but it could be just as you said, he doesn't understand the demand or doesn't know if it's technically feasible, and neither will be effective (in which case I'll just give him my money when I can afford to and watch youtube when I can't).

One thing I did try was writing them about some of this stuff at their official email address - Accu-Stats@accu-stats.com

I basically said "you need to move to DVD" and linked them to a site that does mass VHS to DVD conversions for like 8 bucks a tape or less. I let the other points go in favor of short and sweet. I think it's more effective to try working on just hammering one point home when dealing with a person or company that seems unwilling to change.

With that in mind, I think everyone should just write them a quick email -
Accu-Stats@accu-stats.com

Boycotting is too extreme and people might feel bad doing it (or they can't stick to it cuz there's no alternative source for their video fix). But I don't think anyone will feel bad about taking literally 1 minute to fire off an email, and just tell accustats that you'd like them to move to going all-dvd. Dozens (hundreds?) of AZB messages coming in steady flood and all saying pretty much the same thing CAN'T be ignored. Mention that there's money you could be spending on accustats, but because you prefer DVDs you've been reluctant to fork it over. Otherwise try to keep the letter short, a 2 page rant is gonna be less effective. If anyone thinks this is worthwhile, I hope they post here after sending that email.

Russ Chewning
05-16-2007, 11:05 PM
I know I prolly sound like I'm advocating stealing but I'm really not. It's good you want to do the honorable thing but I think you're on the wrong track: even a marginally effective boycott will do more to put him out of business than watching some youtube videos. The difference between the two is I might not buy tapes because he can see grainy versions of it online, but I definitely won't buy tapes if I go for a boycott.

I know the thinking is that a big sudden drop in sales will spur action while a steady invisible leak in profits won't... but it could be just as you said, he doesn't understand the demand or doesn't know if it's technically feasible, and neither will be effective (in which case I'll just give him my money when I can afford to and watch youtube when I can't).

One thing I did try was writing them about some of this stuff at their official email address - Accu-Stats@accu-stats.com

I basically said "you need to move to DVD" and linked them to a site that does mass VHS to DVD conversions for like 8 bucks a tape or less. I let the other points go in favor of short and sweet. I think it's more effective to try working on just hammering one point home when dealing with a person or company that seems unwilling to change.

With that in mind, I think everyone should just write them a quick email -
Accu-Stats@accu-stats.com

Boycotting is too extreme and people might feel bad doing it (or they can't stick to it cuz there's no alternative source for their video fix). But I don't think anyone will feel bad about taking literally 1 minute to fire off an email, and just tell accustats that you'd like them to move to going all-dvd. Dozens (hundreds?) of AZB messages coming in steady flood and all saying pretty much the same thing CAN'T be ignored. Mention that there's money you could be spending on accustats, but because you prefer DVDs you've been reluctant to fork it over. Otherwise try to keep the letter short, a 2 page rant is gonna be less effective. If anyone thinks this is worthwhile, I hope they post here after sending that email.

Creedo,

I agree that contacting Pat instead of a boycott is the right thing to do.

My point was, is I don't think most of the people viewing these videos on youtube have honorable intentions at all. I think the majority of them willl view the videos, and will not ever consider actually spending the money to buy the DVDs.

I personally asked Pat a year or two ago why he didn't put all the old matches on DVD, and I believe he might have mentioned something about quality issues.

Personally, I think that the quality of the older matches doesn't really matter to a lot of people. To them, seeing the old matches in low resolution is better than not seeing them at all.

People don't really need to bother emailing Pat about the DVDs.. That's a moot point. The technology has already moved past that. Pat needs to find a way to deliver the content on the net. He'd probably make a LOT more money that way, and could afford to tape more matches. Also, he might consider streamlining his technical setup, as I believe a lot of what he is doing can be done a LOT cheaper than the way he is doing it now.

For example.. Why have the commentators do their commentary live? That Accu-Stats booth is a big waste of money, if you ask me. Save up the film, and have the commentators view the footage and do their commentary "as-if" it were live. The only advantage is having player commentary once in a while. What Pat really needs is to have someone knowledgeable on such things to review the setup and find ways to provide basically the same product while not having it be as manhour/setup intensive.

Another thing is, Pat needs to realize, the perfectly polished DVD is not necessary. Get a DVD duplicator, a writer capable of etching the DVD face for a label, and save a messload on the DVDs. That will allow him to sell it to the cheap barstards who will buy a movie DVD for $18.00, but won't spend $26.00 on an Accu-Stats DVD. Which, they will view MUCH more often, on average, than the movie DVD.

Also, like I said before, he has a huge inventory of lower rez matches that people WANT to buy, but he's let them go out of print. Crap, he could sell those for $15.00 apiece by dubbing the VHS original to DVD.. Yeah, it'll look like dog doo compared to the current crop of DVD quality. So what? People will still buy them. He's throwing money out the window by not servicing that market.

Russ

Scaramouche
05-17-2007, 04:14 AM
As I pointed out in that other thread, almost all of the complete video matches that showed up on youtube yesterday have been shown on Canada's Sportsnet channels ad nauseum, with Canadian advertising inserted. I posted the list, but I won't be viewing.

Once something is available for free, or paid for on a cable bill, complaining that it gets saved and copied is an exercise in futility. Many TV networks are making their archives available on line, for free.

Presumably, advertisers will recognize that their ads have a longer life if they are embedded in video and will pay higher fees. As has been pointed out elsewhere, ads are included in those complete matches on youtube. Most short clips that have appeared on youtube are devoid of ads. Exceptions include the Buddy Hall Chalk Off instruction collection and the recent Fury cues posting of women's 9-ball.

One assumes that there are economic benefits for someone. Whether or not those benefits accrue to Accu-stats depends on contract terms which neither thee nor me know.:D

seymore15074
05-17-2007, 04:49 AM
I think all of your worries can be explained by realizing that pool is not a spectator sport. There is only 1 type of person that will watch it, no matter what game, no matter who plays; and that type is a pool player.

Ironicly enough, I do not even care to watch it, either...it's a game to be played.