Sunday, 18 September 2011

The content is the message

I'm less and less convinced that getting chess on TV is important, but only because getting anything on TV is becoming less important. The thought occurred to me today while I was surfing the sports channels. One of the channels was showing the European Table Football Championships (yes the game with the twiddling of knobs), which was being reported in with solemnity and breathlessness of actual football. Now nothing against Table Football, and those taking part looked very serious, but it seemed that the fact this was being broadcast indicated a dilution in what sports were now making it to TV.
I suspect this dilution is caused by the increase of the number of broadcast channels, and not just the traditional ones. It also shows that the control over what is to be broadcast is moving away from the broadcaster, and towards the content provider. Broadcasters are becoming much more passive, accepting content from third parties.
So where does this leave chess? On the one hand, sports channels are less likely to put there own resources towards covering chess. One the other hand, they may be more likely to show a pre-packaged product, if it is put together right. But if the product is packaged specifically towards TV, then it actually may suffer in quality. A better option would be to take advantage of the 'new' technologies and develop a product that operates on the web. There may even be an added benefit in this approach. As traditional TV loses its viewer base to the internet, more and more TV may head in that direction (both in terms of content and delivery systems). And when they get there, chess may already be waiting with just the right product.

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