Will You Pay For It?

30 Nov 2017 17 Share

Nick Carroll

Senior Writer

Image by WSL / Tostee

Image by WSL / Tostee

Just a few days ago, a quite lengthy interview with WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt was run on US based megasite Surfline and the smaller start up site The Business Of Surf.

The interviews were basically identical, drawn from a conference-call q-and-a done by Sophie and several journalists. In the interview, Sophie clearly dismissed the idea of WSL booting up a pay per view subscription service in 2018.

Quoting Surfline’s transcript:

SL: Are there any plans to charge for webcasts next year, or will all events be free? 

Sophie: All of our events next year will be broadcast live and for free on our platforms.

Then, surprise surprise! This very morning US time, a number of committed WSL viewers received this email: 

Help Us Out By Participating In A Survey!

We’re considering offering a premium paid experience with no ads in 2018! Please tell us what you think — it’ll only take a few minutes.

Whether we're paying to view a JJF heat, or streaming for free, one thing is certain... People wanna see the spray fly. Image: WSL / Cestari

Whether we're paying to view a JJF heat, or streaming for free, one thing is certain... People wanna see the spray fly. Image: WSL / Cestari

Now you don’t have to be a super incredibly close observer of the WSL’s recent get-on-the-sled-and-re-set activities to anticipate a move toward pay per view. 

They’re hired one of the sharpest people in that game: Joe Carr, former architect of the UFC’s FightPass PPV system, which is acknowledged across pro sport as the model to pursue. 

And with the advent of the WSL Surf Ranch as a CT event, they have the makings of a branded product that they actually own.

SEE ALSO: EMBRACE THE ARTIFICE!

The way in which premier events have been sliced from the 2018 schedule — both CT and QS — shows the days of free-form investment by the WSL’s backers are over. Events are now expected to at least approach revenue neutrality, if not actual profitability, and the quicker the better, or, well, see ya. Whether you’re Cascais or Cloudbreak.

You can see how given just these three factors, the WSL might be wanting to roll with some kind of ad-free pay per view gig sooner rather than later. 

You can also see from the q-and-a above that Sophie is even sharper than we’d previously guessed. Look how she slid past it! Didn’t actually SAY there were no plans for PPV.

But why not? CW has sent a few questions of our own to the WSL, to help us gain a bit of clarity on it all.

Meanwhile: what about you??

The survey suggests a few ways that PPV might happen. It asks you to pick your price for single event coverage, monthly and yearly access. The sums suggested are right in the range of what many of us currently pay for stuff like Apple Music, Spotify, cloud storage, that sorta gear. Drip-feed stuff you stick on your credit card and never really notice.

So — let’s hear it. What would you do? Is an ad-free WSL worth your money? If so, how much?

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