WSL pull the trigger on Facebook deal
Back in January the WSL announced a new deal with Facebook: sometime during 2018 the social media giant will acquire the digital rights to all WSL webcasts. The timing was dependent on the quality of the Facebook webcast. As soon as they could match what's offered on WSL.com then the migration will occur.
That threshold has apparently been reached as the WSL have announced they'll hand over the product to FB at the J'Bay Open.
Commercially it's a curious move. Since assuming control of pro surfing the WSL has regarded the webcast as the golden goose. It's the only time they can flex their marketing muscle to a captive audience. Housed on WSL.com, the league created a slick ecosystem, though it'll now be dismantled.
It might be those 30 seconds of silence during the 'ad' breaks - called unsold inventory in the trade - or the WSL making a play for numbers. Probably both.
The orginal announcement was met with anger from some quarters. Being forced onto the social media platform clearly rankled, and the timing wasn't great with FB's MO being exposed via the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Also, it's illegal to have an FB account if you're under 13. Between those two cohorts - the outraged and the underaged - the WSL could expect a hit from their core audience.
Nothing a few wonky metrics won't fix though. Autoplays? Oh yes!
Since Snapper, Swellnet has been embedding the WSL webcast onto our site, meaning people who don't have FB accounts, or who can't watch it at work, can watch it on Swellnet. They can comment upon it too. And we're hoping that nothing changes in that regard.