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Old 10-31-2004, 01:21 AM   #1
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Default Thoughts on the 2004 Worlds and Media Exclusivity

Hi all,

As most of you know, I don't often try to use this site as a soapbox. Although I have many strong opinions on many things in this industry, I respect the fact that not everybody agrees with them, and I want this site to remain as balanced as possible. Thus, I don't typically use it as a form of editorial action. However, this past weekend has really brought me to the point where I have to say something about how I and my representatives have been treated by IFMAR and Full Throttle Speedway in relation to the recently concluded Worlds.

Although I could not personally attend the worlds this year due to my job (I am an Editor at Xtreme RC Cars magazine, though I should point out that this message does not necessarily reflect the views of my employer or my coworkers) and to the other races that I have or will be attending (Cleveland, ROAR, etc), I sent a crew of friends to Florida *out of my pocket* to try and get as much coverage of the race out to the world as possible, as I have done many times in the past.

Leading up to the event, both IFMAR and Full Throttle Speedway used R/C Tech as an unoffical source and distribution point for information about the event. Many of you witnessed and participated in the discussions, and as always I was happy to see the threads here and happy to be of service to the racing community. As you might imagine, with all of this taking place, and based on previous experiences with other Worlds and National events, I had absolutely no fear that we would be prevented from covering the race.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

From their arrival, my team was met with resistance at every step. They were denied results, and were not even allowed to look at qualifying standings. Their camera operation and placement was questioned, and they had to fight to even be allowed trackside. They appealed for help, but were always overruled by an IFMAR Official or FTS representative (although the video equipment was allowed to remain).

This morning, it got even worse: they, along with MANY other representatives from various media organizations, were informed that an exclusive agreement was formed with RC Driver magazine, under which no official copies of the results were to be given to anybody other than RC Driver, until RC Driver had waived such rights.

This is an absolute step backwards for the industry and for the sport.

Apparently this deal was forged a couple weeks ago, but very few people heard about it; FTS did not inform many people, for sure. I have talked to many people today, either by phone, at the track, or via email or the websites, and they all echo the same sentiments: Why, when a race is put on to showcase the industry, would three entities conspire to defeat that purpose?

Make no mistake, exclusivity deals exist in other sports, but we certainly do not have the same exposure as the NFL, MLB, World Cup, Olympics, and so on. The more exposure we get, the better off we ALL are. Every manufacturer, every media outlet, and every racer stands to benefit from the growth of the sport, and the sport grows through exposure. When we take away that exposure, we are stabbing ourselves in the back.

Nobody needs to have exclusive access deals. If anything, part of a host track's responsibilities should include providing timely access to information to the R/C press. If results needs to be corrected for errors, penalities, mis-counting or anything else, the results should be provided as a whole to one and all after the corrections are made. Instead of misinformation floating around and various members of the press scratching their heads, it makes it easier on everybody and much more enjoyable to the folks who are wondering what is happening at the track.

The 2004 Worlds were a great event, and those who got to witness it firsthand were very lucky. The rest of us sat, glued to our computers, hoping to get as much information as possible, but were given very little. In the past, this had been due to a lack of volunteers or motivation, but this was the opposite; the desire was there, but somebody was preventing us from watching.

I don't know what IFMAR was thinking here. And I don't what RC Driver stands to gain from a deal like this; I see the idea, but I fail to see the execution. And I personally feel like an absolute fool for allowing Full Throttle Speedway to use R/C Tech as a conduit for information, only to find that it is not a two-way street.

One of the goals of our coverage was to debut our real-time race titling software, which can take a race printout and turn it into an automated video titling sequence a-la Formula 1 or NASCAR, overlaying position changes, times, and pace information on the screen. Unfortunately, when they made one final appeal for the results today, they were again denied, even when they agreed not to post them online. So we are, effectively, up a creek without a paddle (not to mention the thousands of dollars I put into this!) for the time being. Sure, we may get them at some point, but why restrict access?

Ultimately, it just makes no sense.

In the end, this is just one event, and I know that the vast majority of future events will not suffer from this same kind of behavior. But media exclusivity is a dangerous precedent for this sport, and something that will certainly hurt it if it is allowed to continue. I hope that those involved will learn something from this, and that in the future, free access will be given to ANY and ALL who want to see the results from an event like this.

With that said, I congratulate Marc Rheinard, Masami Hirosaka, and all the participants of the 2004 ISTC and 1/12 Worlds, and hope you all felt at least somewhat informed from the efforts put forth here from my team, Team Orion, Mike Myers, Jarrod Pilone, and the many others who worked on getting information from the track to you.

On behalf of R/C Tech, I apologize for not getting the same level of coverage to you as we'd promised. All we can do is try better next time.
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Old 10-31-2004, 01:52 AM   #2
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Everyone flamed on Orion over and over again about thier coverage. But nobody said anything about RC Driver who clearly state on thier site how they are the exclusive magazine and how they will have coverage on thier site. What a sad situation all around. Someone dropped the ball. And this should and I bet it will be addressed in the future.

As far as digital information. Only one definate absolute answer for that. RC Scoring Pro. Come on, this program is like trying to compare windows XP to windows 3.1. It is unacceptable to me that at such a level, that technology is not required or demanded. Doug has done everything but give the software away to get people up to date and still problem after problem at major races dealing with outdated scoring software.

It is sad and petty that such a prestigeous event that could have such a large impact on our sport has to overcome such petty ignorant incompetance. Thanks to everyone who fought for us all across the globe to give us such great coverage despite the hinderance of IFMAR.

I am sad to say that I had just renewed my subscription to RC Driver.
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Old 10-31-2004, 01:55 AM   #3
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Media exclusivity is NOT completely harmful to the growth of our sport/hobby, so long as the exclusive party follows through on the responsibility inherited.

That said, I'm not sure the exclusive parties did so in this case.
I'm anxious to hear a constructive justification.
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Old 10-31-2004, 01:00 AM   #4
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If RC Driver had updated their website daily with information from the event, along with the results they paid for, that would have been informative and helpful to all the people following the race online. We still don't know if they had technical problems or something else preventing them from doing this, or if they simply fell through on their promise (which I never heard about until looking at their site).



Quote:
RC Driver Chosen as Official Magazine for 2004 IFMAR 1/12th and 1/10th ISTC Touring Car Electric World Championships, October 23-30, 2004

Ridgefield, CT, October 19, 2004—RC Driver announced today that the magazine has been chosen by Full Throttle Speedway in Davenport, FL as the official magazine for the 2004 IFMAR World Championships which will be held at the track October 23-30, 2004.

RC Driver will create a special commemorative event program for race participants, broadcast media and spectators attending the event. The race program will contain driver and event sponsor information and schedule information for the race.

Exclusive early results reporting from the race will be featured on the magazine’s website at www.rcdriver.com.
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Old 10-31-2004, 01:01 AM   #5
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Speedie: I should add that I don't mean this as an absolute slam on RC Driver; I guess the message is up to the reader to decipher. I'm sure their intent was noble, although this kind of agreement is obviously a business/sponsorship deal above all else.

JKA: What would be an example of exclusivity being a good idea? I am certainly open to changing my opinion given the right evidence, I just can't think of such a situation myself.

Speedo: Wow, that announcement is news to me. Amidst all of the other information that FTS and IFMAR were relaying via R/C Tech, we sure didn't see that one!
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Old 10-31-2004, 01:01 AM   #6
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Reading that quote again, it could be that they plan on posting the results on their website within a few days.

Josh
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Old 10-31-2004, 01:04 AM   #7
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Default I agree

Thats awful the media was shut out the way it was.

who's the most to blame here, RC driver for persuing the exclusivity?

IFMAR or FTS for making the deal.

Specifically what is it you were denied?
I've seen pictures of media people all over the track?

outside the digital results, what was your team denied.

p.s. I'm all for a boycott of rc driver
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Old 10-31-2004, 01:07 AM   #8
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Shane,

Well said. you have come off cool and professional with your commentary but, I know you are filled with rage inside. I understand and certainly the majority of the readers of this forum all agree with you. I completely agree with you regarding Media Exclusivity around a major event such as the Worlds. When I am not slamming my TRF415 into the boards, I am a sports photographer. As a photographer, having exclusive rights to an event is great only for the photographer and the media outlet he/she is representing. This works out great for well established mainstream sports. The photographer makes big $$$ and the media outlet will make big $$$ because, only they can sell the pictures to others.

Media Exclusivity HURTS sports such as ours.

But, what would IFMAR, Full Throttle Raceway, and RC Driver gain for their exclusive rights anyway? Do they think they will make more money by not allowing other media to publish their images and not allow writers to publish their stories?

Only gain I can see right now is they haved a pissed off Editor from a competing magazine who will share his commentary to the readers of his publication and his website.

Shane, correct me if I'm wrong here but, The Worlds was a public event, held in a public facility. The audience didn't have to pay to get it did they? The media has all the rights in the world to cover and report on the event.

My suggestion is that Xtreme RC needs to beat RC Driver to the punch. Publish the event coverage before RC Driver even without OFFICIAL results (besides, all I care about as a subsriber to XRC is who won! Marc and Masami!). Have more pictures, more stories, more of everything. Shove that Media Exclusivity right up IFMAR, FTS, and RCDrivers' ...

John
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Old 10-31-2004, 01:12 AM   #9
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TCR: Ultimately the blame has to lie with the organizers of the race. They are the ones in control.

Throughout qualifying, standings were handed to team managers only, and not to the media. I have no idea if this was due to the afore-mentioned coverage agreement. The information eventually trickled down, thanks to the tireless efforts of a few individuals, but before that trickle-down effect there was a great deal of what-ifs and incorrect information.

I think (and I doubt everybody agrees) that the organizers of an event of this scale have a bit of a duty to keep timely information flowing to the public. It is safe to say that there are tens of thousands of R/C racing fans throughout the world who have a great interest in what is taking place. The advent of the internet and the advancement in high-speed technologies has really made this possible, and made results of this nature a factor.

My first post is just my opinion; as I said, I don't often use this place as a soapbox but I do retain that right, and I exercised it here. I don't expect everybody to agree with me, and I expect many will strongly disagree. I am not trying to start a boycott of anything or a backlash against anybody, I just hope that getting this idea out will prevent this from becoming a trend in the future.
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Old 10-31-2004, 01:13 AM   #10
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I just got back from being bad santa for Halloween and maybe had a few too many "sodas" but what? How is information not shared? I know I can't watch sporting events on every channel, but are you kidding me..I can see the results on ESPN at the same time or right after. The information is going to be spread regardless of who has the "rights" the sad truth is the people that need to "make deals" are the ones that need them.

I've never heard of media being treated like fools in ANY other sport or hobby than this one. I've had convesations with ROAR and emailed IFMAR about this. The people that try to help this sport are treat like fools, yet in EVERY other form of racing the media are treated like kings....wake up. We are too small of an industry to be doing this stuff. ANY magazine or media outlet that trys this stunt is a MORON and is only hurting the sport.

I know we'll be PWNing everybody on coverage in our magazine and don't have to make silly deals to try and stop others. Botttom line...if a magazine or website can't beat another to the public than NO organization or person should try and help....

Shame...we all need a moment of silence....
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Old 10-31-2004, 01:16 AM   #11
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They claimed "exclusive early results" I saw it on thier site at the begining and kept checking back so I could tell everyone. But there was never anything there. I like the magazine love it in fact and didnt want it flamed as bad as Orion was, who also promissed coverage. If they wanted the right to, and fought so hard to, they should have followed through with thier claim. They used thier exclusive rights to advertise and sell magazines. But they never followed through. And worse yet prevented others that wanted to do what they stated they were going to do. Was it a lie or a mistake. If it were the situation and the lack of technology at the track then that would be understandable. But then they either should have posted this on thier site, and let others do what they could not. And how in the H&*% did a track so ill prepared, get a world title race? What does IFMAR do just show up the day of the race to see if there is really a track there? I am willing to bet this will never happen again.
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Last edited by Speedie; 10-31-2004 at 05:58 AM.
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Old 10-31-2004, 01:18 AM   #12
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Runin Ronin: I am really not sure what they stand to gain; that is one of my big questions. Although I must reassert that I am saying these things not as an employee of XRC, but as the owner of this website. My coverage endeavors here had nothing to do with XRC, and these opinions do not reflect theirs (though I'd wager that Derek will have something to say at some point!)

Of course, as an employee of XRC, I know that we will make every effort to have the best coverage possible. We do of course have the results that matter, but the organizers certainly made it harder for us to obtain.

As it has been proven here, with enough people who have a vested interest in the sport and in providing information, there are plenty who are willing to do whatever it takes to cover an event. Instead of having them fight for word-of-mouth results and rumors, all it takes is a simple bit of coordination from a body like IFMAR to fix it all.

Take a look at the 1/8 Off-Road Worlds in Sweden. The event organizers actually had a post-race press conference a-la Formula 1. How cool is that? All the information gets to anybody who wants it. Now that is good for the sport.

edit: See, I knew Derek would have something to say. haha
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Old 10-31-2004, 01:21 AM   #13
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Sweden was a lesson for everybody yet it probably will never happen again...press given internet access and results live? A place to work? Drinks and treated like they traveled across the globe to cover a race?....I would have neve guessed it would have happened it Sweden. Our sport needs a make-over in a hurry.
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Old 10-31-2004, 01:44 AM   #14
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I am truly stunned. I have put on a lot of sporting events over the years and the number one thing to do is to get results and information to competitors, spectators and press.

Its like these people intentially want to keep the industry from growing.

There must be a local restaurant there that serves big bowls of retarded for breakfast.
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Old 10-31-2004, 01:58 AM   #15
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This just plain out doesn't make sense?

The track and race had FREE press!! that's right, FREE. Magazines spent their own $$$ to come and cover a race at your track for FREE. All you had to do was throw them a bone, aka results.

They go publish the results, you get free publicity in magazines/on-line/other mediums for your track for no dime out of your own pocket. Instead, RC Driver and host track gets FREE negative press. Nice!

Someone obviously never took Marketing 101, or failed it miserably. At least I hope they piad attention in Marketing 102; how to respond, and damage control negative press.

Easily accessable information is easiest way to promote something, like this hobby.

Instead, it's like planning a revolution, but only you and your dog knows about it. <--- not a good way to promote something.

Last edited by razzo; 10-31-2004 at 02:06 AM.
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