Ultiworld Video Coverage: Plans for 2016 + Survey Winners

Scaffolding at Sunrise.
Scaffolding at Sunrise.

Last week, we sent out a survey to ask our subscribers and the broader ultimate community about our video subscriptions and production.  Here’s a brief summary of the responses, along with notes to our customers and the community about our filming plans going forward:

First, big thanks for the more than 650 respondents to our survey. As you’ll see, we’ve read every response and are taking many to heart.

Overall, there’s tremendous satisfaction with our video products and offering:

  • Average Overall Satisfaction among our customers was 4.1 out of 5.
  • Overall Value was similar, averaging 4 out of 5, with especially high marks for the team packs (90% of club team pack subscribers rated us a 4 or 5 out of 5 on value).
  • Two common areas for improvement (discussed below) were production quality and technical ease of use.
  • About 65% of our subscribers enjoy our free live stream + paid VOD subscription setup; most of the rest said they were “indifferent” to that, with few objecting to it.
  • We asked as to whether we should switch up the type, tier, or division of teams we film, but there was no consensus on that front.
  • Overall, many subscribers (50%+) indicated that they would pay more for more tournament coverage.

Our Business Model

Almost exactly a year ago, we wrote a long post explaining our move away from individual game sales to subscription packages.

For the most part, we still believe in what we wrote there, but thought it would be great to elaborate and underscore certain aspects of that move:

  • Originally, Ultiworld sold individual game and tournament packages. Selling per game footage puts us in the less enviable position of constant evaluation of which games will make money.
    • The subscription model lets us be a lot more equitable and gives us more freedom. Each tournament has some can’t-miss games (usually between top teams), but we also keep in mind that we want to hit every top team at least once (preferably twice) in the season.
    • The subscriptions include access to both women’s and men’s games — and while there are a few subscribers who would prefer to only see one division — the subscription approach helps us cover deeper into the women’s division; we think that’s a value the community is in support of overall.1
    • We plan to provide roughly the same distribution of coverage between divisions in 2016 (about 40%:60% women’s:men’s college coverage; last year we provided >50% women’s club coverage).
  • We’d like to remind you that our video sales subsidize our other reporting, including on-the-ground tournament coverage, video analysis, editing and website maintenance, etc.  Buying our video subscription is supporting ultimate journalism and reporting. Every year we budget more: more tournaments covered, more games filmed, more divisions covered, more writers (more than 10!) at Nationals, and more money to contributors. We need your support to keep that going.
  • Club coverage is still in flux, depending in part on our investments (see below).  As we’ve mentioned before, one camera per tournament means we can only provide great coverage (i.e., enough games to make the subscription valuable) for two divisions, and we continue to prioritize the men’s and women’s club divisions.

Areas for Improvement: User Experience, Instant Replay, and Cameras

Three comments stuck out to us in the video survey:

  1. The Gumroad experience isn’t always ideal, and it’s not always easy to figure out where to find games.
  2. Instant replay and multiple cameras would be great!
  3. People would pay more for more games.

Happy to say that we’re looking into all three of those areas and should have some updates in January 2016.  Gumroad has been great for us because it allows coaches and team leaders to either stream inside the browser or download the full game footage, which is easier for clipping. It hosts large files and processes transactions for us. But we’re starting to hear that, while great for power users, our Gumroad system isn’t always the most user friendly.

That said, after much research, we’ve concluded that Gumroad remains the best possible option for now for its blend of features. We are exploring ways of making Gumroad work more seamlessly with the Ultiworld login side. We will also be doing a better job of labeling games consistently to make them easier to search through and sort (especially for those that download games).2

We are also exploring another round of upgrades to our video setup which would allow for multiple camera angles, enhanced production, and instant replay. Our plan would be to offer tiered coverage: film for VOD at medium-sized tournaments, stream major tournaments on our smaller setup, and use instant replay and multiple cameras at the largest events.

The biggest cost associated with such a move isn’t necessarily the equipment, but rather the extra labor needed at any tournament where you are adding production to a stream. One of our values has always included sustainable growth.

Additional filming at each event — think two filmed games per round time — is a reach goal in 2016, but it’s on the radar. Among other things, it would allow us to provide a serious Mixed team pack subscription and film more medium-tier (#15-40) ranked teams.

2015 Fall College Film

We’re currently working on processing film from Missouri Loves Company and the Classic City Classic. We have nine games from each tournament on tape. We plan to release the subscription packages in the next week and upload those games right away. If we do end up setting up a new system in the spring, we’ll port over fall subscribers (at no cost, of course).

Survey Respondent Winners

– $250 VC Ultimate gift card: Kelsey Fink
– 10 Ultiworld discs: Anonymous (email address withheld for privacy)

  1. On that note, we had many more women club team subscribers than women college team subscribers.  Help us get the word out about the college subscriptions! Last year we filmed over 40 women’s college games. 

  2. Feel free to email us with any tips or suggestions! 

  1. Ultiworld

    Ultiworld is the premier news media site dedicated to the sport of ultimate. This article includes the work of a number of our staff or contributors that have been identified within the piece.

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