Did Video Killed the Radio Star?

We’ve all heard the song, “Video killed the Radio Star” but will Foxtel kill the Livestream?

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Anyone who remembers the song by The Buggles, knows it laments the issue about the new fad of television and music videos killing of the once glamours radio star.

History shows us that the two have managed to live in harmony so this begs the question. Can Livesteam ran by the clubs, live in harmony with the AIHL and Foxtels coverage of the AIHL.

Firstly we need to look at the Livestreams currently produced by the clubs. The Melbourne Ice and the Newcastle North Stars produce about the two best Livestreams.

One major problem with Livestream is uplink speed something the North Stars have struggled with this year but it’s dedicated crew work hard at each week trying to improve. Each week bits are added by the tech guru’s Greg Rickford and Peter Lambert in an attempt to bring fans a better experience.

Consistent uplink speed from an ice rink, which is basically a big fridge has many issues. The big one being a decent 3G or 4G signal. The people at home watching, who are overly honest in their opinion when the uplink is bad are taking in the stream as a download which has much more speed.

We have to remember that the Livestream is free. It’s not NHL Game Centre, if it was Rickford and Lambert would be like kids in a candy shop. Newcastle doesn’t have a permanent set up which means it all has to be set up and taken down each week which can end in connections not working or slight issues however a quick look at the chat room will show a few watchers complaining about the free stream they are receiving.

Anyone who knows Rickford, knows he was the Digital Media Manager at the Cronulla Sharks Rugby League NRL club, who first tried streaming an NRL match in the 90’s only to have Kerry Packer himself ring up to shut it down. Although it was probably a frame every second, even Packer knew it could damage his product.

So leads us to look at Foxtel. This has been the biggest thing for the sport in Australia since the game was introduced.

The product on the ice through the hard work over the years from people like Tyler Lovering, Peter Lambert and Robert Bannerman have showcased a product that has found a new expanding audience.

James Morgan and his ATC Productions did an amazing job with the finals in 2012 and have done a great job producing the 2013 season content, which yes has had it critics but overall has been positive and James and his crew should stand proud against their product.

So the question now is the 2013 Finals series. Will it be televised and still be streamed?

The Finals have been streamed every year live since 2005 and hockey fans in Australia and Overseas, rely on the stream to watch Australian ice hockey. Is it a good idea to alienate these fans?

Do we now go back a few steps and instead of watching the 2013 finals series live via the stream with live commentary, we can watch it a week later already knowing the score.

I myself have memories of 2011, watching the stream on my laptop computer, on the edge of my seat watching the Newcastle North Stars battle the Melbourne Ice.

There is always a bigger picture. In the next few years will we see live games on Foxtel with live commentary? Will we see more than one game a week? Do we have to sacrifice our Livestream for something that may or may not happen in the future?

So we know the answer to the first question. Video didn’t really kill the radio star in the same way movies on a video player didn’t kill the cinema.

Surely the finals can be streamed without hurting the product, that we will still watch on foxtel however the silence from the AIHL is deafening.

Craig Tonks

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