Figure Skating Videos vs Youtube

starrynight

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I just read this really interesting article about the impacts of the mass deletion of figure skating videos from YouTube.

https://adivinesport.com/2019/03/15/a-shadow-on-the-sport/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

Highly recommend that everyone reads it.

I was looking through my ‘favourites’ list of skating videos on YouTube this week and I was very sad that the vast majority of them are now all deleted. I am kicking myself for not saving them.

There are now some great skates that new fans to the sport will never see.
 

misskarne

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That's an excellent article, and raises all of the pertinent points, including the thornily difficult situation the ISU is actually in.

I've maintained that to be angry with the ISU about videos being zapped is to miss the point. Get angry at the Japanese TV station that was laying waste to everything after 2018 Worlds - even videos not made from their broadcasts. That was unnecessary, greedy, and did not seem to fit with copyright regulation.

It might be worth also for the ISU to look into the possibility of putting some restrictions in their agreements. Take Andrew Dodds' stunning PB SP at 4CC this year. I could not wait to get home and start showing everyone that skate. But before the week was even through it was gone from Youtube. Zapped by some TV station that wasn't even going to show him. It's unconscionable that these TV stations are taking away the ability to watch things that they aren't even going to show. I could understand them zapping, say, the last two groups. But the early skaters, the first group skaters, the ones who are never, ever going to make the broadcast? That's just being petty and mean.

Perhaps a clause could be inserted: if you show you everyone, you can zap everyone. If you're not going to show everyone, you don't get to zap who you don't show.
 

Orm Irian

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I'd go further than that, @misskarne - I'd like the ISU to retain the rights to put one commentary-free version of each program at all major championships on their own channel, free and non-geoblocked, to ensure that they're always available. The TV companies can chase after people who upload the versions with their commentaries, because that's their value-added element. But the plain skates themselves? Especially, as you say, for the lower-ranked skaters and the ones for whom YouTube videos are probably the most publicity they ever get? Nope, they have to leave those alone.

The ISU really does need to invest in learning how to use the internet effectively to increase its audience and the profitability of events. That article is entirely correct that the tv-based business model is out of date now.
 
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Nell411

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The ISU really does need to invest in learning how to use the internet effectively to increase its audience and the profitability of events. That article is entirely correct that the tv-based business model is out of date now.
Considering in Canada, for example, very little skating is shown on TV. CBC has the rights for any event that doesn't take place in Canada and they livestream everything and then do highlights later. I think they show some stuff live but since I haven't been able to watch CBC TV actually live in years I'm not sure how much of it is live.

CTV/TSN has the rights for events in Canada but they don't livestream for free so I don't really know what their deal is.
 

starrynight

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The big shame is also the loss of older skating programs. I was trying to locate some programs from the Kerrs and they are no longer there :(

I just hate it when we have ‘Ghost Competitons’ that may as well not have occurred because there is no video evidence.
 

greenapple

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It seems the Internet is undergoing a revolution in many aspects. TV networks, photo agencies, magazines, etc. are now taking action against those who "steal" their videos, photos and articles and post them on their social media sites to get hits - and in many cases to make money off material they do not own.

AFP has now hired an agency that uses bots to scour the Internet and track its photos. When the bots find them on sites that did not pay for them, the agency sends a letter to the infringing party citing a copyright violation and demands a hefty payment. They don't care how someone got the photo(s) - they only care that the photo(s) were used without AFP permission and the person who used them has to pay.

It's a changing world.
 

Japanfan

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I'm just sad. I don't know what the answer is.

But hopefully, given that there is a demand for broad access to figure skating, someone will meet the demand. Though I don't have much faith in the ISU.
 
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The ISU must be under real pressure from broadcasters. For example the Eurovision ISU website https://www.eurovisionsports.tv/isu/figure-skating/ on which you can see videos of all performances from GPs and above (geo-blocking may apply depending on where you are) for the last few years does not have videos from 2017 and 2018 Worlds but everything else is there.

This is despite it being a site that only hard core fans know about, picture quality is worse than Youtube, and it is very unfriendly to navigate. For example to watch a video of your favourite skater you need to know which group they’re in and at which point.

Hence if the broadcasters are concerned about this (I cannot see any other reason why the videos not being there, other than that there are so many countries covered by rights that it’s pointless doing the feed for everyone else) then they’re bound to be really concerned about what’s on Youtube,

I would agree with the poster who says that un-commentated versions of performances should be put in the ISU’s own Skating ISU website (or a separate obvious channel name bit like the Junior Grand Prix) shortly after events have occurred. I would also go further than this and say they should be looking to put commentated versions on there say 6 months after the event, when at that point surely broadcasters don’t care anymore, and in fact the commentated versions might actually attract viewers to their next broadcasts.

At the moment the ISU doesn’t have a commentator on its ‘World Feeds’, but FISU did for the recent Winter Universiade – PJ Kwong, and she did a great job – and such an arrangement would allow broadcasters to show any ‘Over the Top’ internet broadcasts with or without commentary, hopefully giving viewers the choice e.g. Eurosport Player had a commentary (Belinda Noonan) and commentary free option at the Olympics, but now it’s gone and it’s not quite the same, especially if you liked the commentary option.

Finally I would ask any uploaders out there NOT to upload videos of the ISU’s forthcoming Junior Grand Prix season. The ISU’s Youtube channel is perfectly adequate and the more viewers it gets, the more likely it is you will get something similar for CS events and above, plus it may even allow the ISU to monetize its content – I’m sure we would be perfectly happy to sit through a few seconds of adverts knowing that the performance should hopefully be there forever, thinking of which does the ISU have archives of things like previous World Championships somewhere within its bowels? If so perhaps it could start loading up old content that nobody is interested in anymore onto its own Youtube channel and see how it goes.
 

Colonel Green

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In the long-term, structural changes in the media environment probably are going to push us toward something like an official ISU video site (and/or their own YouTube channel), but getting to that point, given the sale of broadcast rights, is going to be thorny.
 

Frau Muller

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This is why I always swear by maintaining a collection of good ol’-fashioned DVDs...40 yrs of skating history at my fingertips, in my personal library! Ditto my 3,000+ classical ballet rarities and treasures, most first-generation originals. 👅

YouTube, to me, is a one-time way of seeing a particular skate soon after it happens. (Thanks, Braulio!) I never depend on it as a substitute for a long-term library. A library with films that can be savoured from my sofa, in total comfort, not relying on a computer and wires (or flash drive or TiVo sort of thing).
 
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AxelAnnie

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Great article, Claire.
Someone had best get a grip on themselves. IMO, the ISU is being short sided in not having come up with a way to stream the videos during the competition, and archiving them. People will pay.............well I will pay. I don't know what the network pays, but their coverage is horrible. How can you attract fans.....real fans....the kind that used to fill stadiums....by showing parts of events, snippets of comments, and so many cut aways, with such riveting questions as: Tell me, how did you feel when you fell out there? Really?

And, for casual fans......(my x-husband for example) it looks like they are always skating the same program (which they are).

And the tracker. I know, it is useful (I guess), but I - a rather die hard fan - find myself watching the tracker to see how the last element scored instead of watching the skater.

YouTube watching, Netflix, Hulu, etc are not going away. But skating is. You don't even see an ad for skating...."Watch tonight as the 13 year old phenom goes to claim gold".

NBC can't be making all that much money on the broadcasts. They are so hit and miss. It is not as though you know that Tuesday's at 7:00 the latest figure skating event will be telecast. I get what ISU gets out of NBC..I just don't see it being a cash cow for NBC.

Oh well.
 

Limonite

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I'm not a fan of modern-day figure skating, so Youtube is a fantastic way for me to see all those old performances from the 90's and early 00's. One of my favorites was a video of M&D's Liebestraum performance at the 92 Olympics. The fact that it had no commentary made it very special. Now the video is gone. That is one of the many videos I used to watch that have disappeared. It's really frustrating.
 
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I'm not a fan of modern-day figure skating, so Youtube is a fantastic way for me to see all those old performances from the 90's and early 00's. One of my favorites was a video of M&D's Liebestraum performance at the 92 Olympics. The fact that it had no commentary made it very special. Now the video is gone. That is one of the many videos I used to watch that have disappeared. It's really frustrating.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpKHpIC6Yn0
 

ross_hy

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I think the ISU and/or USFS should consider starting a skating archive website. Make some content free, and then if you really want to go deep, you can subscribe. I think there's a market for full videos of competitions, whether there's commentary or not.
 
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IMO, the ISU is being short sided in not having come up with a way to stream the videos during the competition, and archiving them.
The Eurovision site quoted above does stream videos during the competition. However it may be geo-blocked for you depending on the nature of the competition and who's got rights for it (I in Europe could watch the recent World Juniors, but not GPs and above due to Eurosport having the rights).

The videos are then archived as above, and I think the geo-blocking is then a lot less restrictive as I can now see things that I couldn't at the time.

Finally, hopefully some sort of solution might just involve transferring across the videos to official ISU Youtube channels, provided this is allowed under the arrangement with Eurovision, and enough time has gone by for other rights holders' rights to have expired.
 
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Frau Muller

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I think the ISU and/or USFS should consider starting a skating archive website. Make some content free, and then if you really want to go deep, you can subscribe. I think there's a market for full videos of competitions, whether there's commentary or not.
It’s a good concept. It would be great if it could offer both physical (mailing DVDs or flash drives) and downloading options. But wouldn’t there be a problem with rights to music used by skaters, especially now that the ISU welcomes popular music with lyrics? Imagine the difficulty in obtaining approvals for commercial release of just one competition...and, as a result, the very high cost of purchasing even one competition on DVD (or as downloads).
 
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aftershocks

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I think the ISU and/or USFS should consider starting a skating archive website. Make some content free, and then if you really want to go deep, you can subscribe. I think there's a market for full videos of competitions, whether there's commentary or not.
https://usfigureskatingfanzone.com/sports/2018/9/7/youtube-video-archives.aspx
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-CheZaoFWwSUzVc6l-LVjfS0sR5Oo_ei

The problem is that apparently U.S. figure skating and NBC are hoping fans will purchase NBC Gold subscriptions to watch all the senior and some junior and synchro coverage for this season. The reality is that U.S. fed and ISU have indiscriminately eliminated a great deal of valuable and nostalgic Youtube footage from many seasons ago, and that's NOT helpful.

Casual fans and new fans have been brought to the sport via the availability of recent and archived Youtube videos. It's only diehard fans who will know or care about, or even be interested enough in NBC Gold and U.S. fs fan zone. TPTB need to understand how audiences are actually built and stop being so dismissive and stingy toward the fans they do have. The U.S. figure skating channel will need to provide access to much more than juvenile, intermediate, and novice coverage from the current season. They aren't going to grow and maintain a viewership with such limited and restricted content consisting of young skaters who frankly are still developing. It's mostly diehard fans, not casual fans who will be interested in juvenile, intermediate, and novice events. And even among diehard fans, watching domestic juvenile/ novice/ intermediate skating is not always a must-see, can't wait to watch temptation.

Above all, the sport needs to clearly inform fans what they are doing and where they are heading with this scorched-earth approach. The U.S. figure skating fan zone site is too confusing to navigate in the first place. And NBC Gold, despite sharper video, is not actually providing all of the same content we got on IceNetwork, as we were promised (i.e., press conferences, medal ceremonies, and behind-the-scenes interviews). Some press conferences and a few random medal ceremonies have been found on Youtube, but not consistently. And they'll probably be removing those videos too. What's up U.S. fed/ ISU??? Take care you don't end up with increasingly disaffected fans and no viewers!
 
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Friendly reminder that fsvids.net still exists. You may need to upload a certain number of videos to get in. I haven't gone there in a very long time, but I see that there are new videos there, including 2019 Euros.

There are many good points raised in this thread, but realistically the ISU is not going to restructure their exclusive broadcast agreements and the networks are not going to stop taking down videos. Talking about it really doesn't help. If you're motivated to change things, you could download the existing videos from youtube using a free program like jdownloader (which allows you to download an entire channel at once) and then upload them to other servers and post on fsvids; they have threads organized by competition or by skaters/disciplines. If you like a particular skater/team, you could scour youtube to find the best HD videos with minimal commentary, save those, and reupload them somewhere. All of this can be done for free and with virtually no technical knowledge necessary. If you wanted your own backups you could buy a 1TB hard drive (which is a huge amount of space) for about $50, plug it into a USB port and save copies of the videos there.

If you do have technical knowledge, you could do things like download whole torrents of competitions and then cut them into individual skaters performances and upload those. Or you could convert your existing tapes to video clips.

Youtube was far more convenient as a user, of course, and more interactive and fun, but clip trading existed before that (who remembers iceroom and rinkside?!) and tape trading existed before video clips.
 

laviemn

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Friendly reminder that fsvids.net still exists. You may need to upload a certain number of videos to get in. I haven't gone there in a very long time, but I see that there are new videos there, including 2019 Euros.

There are many good points raised in this thread, but realistically the ISU is not going to restructure their exclusive broadcast agreements and the networks are not going to stop taking down videos. Talking about it really doesn't help. If you're motivated to change things, you could download the existing videos from youtube using a free program like jdownloader (which allows you to download an entire channel at once) and then upload them to other servers and post on fsvids; they have threads organized by competition or by skaters/disciplines. If you like a particular skater/team, you could scour youtube to find the best HD videos with minimal commentary, save those, and reupload them somewhere. All of this can be done for free and with virtually no technical knowledge necessary. If you wanted your own backups you could buy a 1TB hard drive (which is a huge amount of space) for about $50, plug it into a USB port and save copies of the videos there.

If you do have technical knowledge, you could do things like download whole torrents of competitions and then cut them into individual skaters performances and upload those. Or you could convert your existing tapes to video clips.

Youtube was far more convenient as a user, of course, and more interactive and fun, but clip trading existed before that (who remembers iceroom and rinkside?!) and tape trading existed before video clips.
There are torrents of skating competitions? Can I ask where? I wonder if people still use IRC, which I never figured out how to use before everything moved to Youtube.

I'm glad to hear fsvids is getting more activity lately, it was nearly dead the last time I logged on.
 
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There are torrents of skating competitions? Can I ask where? I wonder if people still use IRC, which I never figured out how to use before everything moved to Youtube.

I'm glad to hear fsvids is getting more activity lately, it was nearly dead the last time I logged on.
I'm not sure how active fsvids is, but I was pleasantly surprised there was anything new on there at all, and certainly FSUers could make it active again. :)

Torrents are available on rutracker.org in Russian of course, but navigable with google translate.
 

manhn

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Half of my condo is filled with my skating dvds. I don't really watch skating online. Due to time constraints and the dwindling number of people who still record stuff on TV, I have not traded with anyone in ages. And man, I would love to trade with an American and their Olympic Channel coverage. I have envisioned when a skating event ever takes place in one of Vancouver's suburbs (as I live too far away from the actual city and will never afford to live within it), I would host an FSU get together, where I would play dvds of old skating events.

Maybe skating dvds and tapes will make a comeback, like vinyl.
 

Vash01

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Half of my condo is filled with my skating dvds. I don't really watch skating online. Due to time constraints and the dwindling number of people who still record stuff on TV, I have not traded with anyone in ages. And man, I would love to trade with an American and their Olympic Channel coverage. I have envisioned when a skating event ever takes place in one of Vancouver's suburbs (as I live too far away from the actual city and will never afford to live within it), I would host an FSU get together, where I would play dvds of old skating events.

Maybe skating dvds and tapes will make a comeback, like vinyl.
I have a closet full of VHS tapes, starting with some of 1988, and probably ending at 2006. Not sure what shape they are in, since I don't have a VHS player anymore.
 

starrynight

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Shouldn't this thread be merged with Claire's thread citing her article, which is already posted in GSD?
I think it is such an excellent article on a very topical and significant issue - so I think it deserves its own thread.

The only reason I even discovered figure skating was through YouTube. I did it just out of curiosity to see what an international friend was going on and on about. lol Then I fell right down into the rabbit hole! Now I don't see myself ever not keeping up with what is going on in skating.

It just kind of seems shortsighted for the ISU to allow TV networks to block all online videos of competitions and then even worse delete vast quantities of historical content :wuzrobbed for what is often just an abbreviated highlights package that is aired in a tiny section of the world.

I'm not going to get over all the old programs disappearing. Like how could the Kerr's 2007 free dance ever impact on television viewing? (And why was it the nice clear British Eurosport version that was deleted? Or the British Eurosport version of Jeffery Buttle's 2008 World Title free skate? I could go on and on and on....)

A subscription service that you could pay for that is run by the ISU is a good idea (although that would cost money to set up and maintain). But I would gladly participate in that.

I've also been very surprised that skating doesn't try to do more by generating revenue with merchandise. I'm talking like mugs, shirts, key rings etc with skaters on them and commemorative memorabilia.
 

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